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Northview Goats

David and Sheila Carter own and operate Northview Farm in Tappahannock, Virginia, where they raise cattle and goats. David Carter tells their story...

Northview Goats We mainly were raising cattle, so we got some goats to clean up some brush that our cattle was leaving. The goats were percentage animals. Then we started reading and learning more about the Boer goat business and going to seminars and meetings and sales. My wife made a joke out of the fact that every sale we went to all we would bring home was a buck. She wondered when we would ever buy does to get the herd going. We started with several percentage bucks to get a feel of breeding. After a while she learned that getting the right buck was the key to a good herd.

I suggest that anyone starting the goat business take the time to read any article, magazine, newspaper or seminar that they can get their hands on. I believe that old time saying of "if you stop learning you stop living." And in the goat business there is always something new and different to learn at any level.

Northview Farms You have to take a lot of bumps and bruises along the way to learn, but there is nothing like learning the old time hard way. But please do try and visit different goat farms with nothing more than to see how they do things and maybe you can pick up a few ideas. No two people managed a herd the same way. And that is the idea. You want to be proud of the fact that when your goats start producing animals that become a "good meat goat commercial herd or a good meat goat showing herd" it is yours and not a duplication of what others have done.

I have found that the goat business is a small community and everyone knows almost everyone in the business. Your business decisions should reflect your honor and ethics. If a goat has problems you shouldnít sell that problem to somebody else -- it should be taken to the goat meat market and sold as meat. We started showing goats because my wife got tired of us sitting on the same bench every year at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I wishing that we could become that good one day. Our first show was was in Smithfield, North Carolina. And believe you me we werenít ready, but my wife decided we were. However, I had learned that if you donít get in there with the other show participants you wonít know what to look for to make your herd better. We came in many times at the end of the line and probably will again. Every show you go to will have an animal that has a quality your goat doesnít have.

We took the plunge last year and hosted a show -- the "The First Old Dominion Open Boer Goat Show" in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We were scared to death, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. But we had two great judges, Anton Ward and Roger McSwain. We were well supported by Virginia and a lot of surrounding states. It didnít seem quite a bad as we had thought it might be. But it did take a lot of hard work on our part and several volunteers. We had 200 animals and a lot of folks who just came to watch.

We had asked that everyone who registered donate a dollar per goat. Some were more generous and we were able to get together $475 together for the Junior American Boer Goat Association Scholarship Fund. Well, we werenít convinced that we had taken on enough, so we decided there was no way we could leave out the youth. This year we have included youth 2-19 from any state or county and any affiliation, and we are including a JACKPOT.

We feel that the Youth are our future to agriculture and livestock. So why not include them in what we were working so hard for anyway? We again have the same two great judges - Anton Ward and Roger McSwain. And again we are going to ask registrants to give a dollar per goat registered to the Junior American Boer Goat Association Scholarship Fund.

Our six county area has a junior livestock show once a year which happens to be in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This will be the first year they have allowed meat goats to be a part of the show.

Extension Agents from these counties helped us put on a meat goat clinic in February at our house. Anton Ward (ABGA Judge), Frankie Beaman (North Carolina Breeder), Ron Hughes (NC Extension Agent) and so many others volunteered their time and energy to make our very first meat goat clinic a success.

The last words my wife and I have to say about the goat business is always make sure your County Extension Agent is part of the foundation of your business. They can be your best friend and will lead you into the right direction.

First published in the March/April 2006 edition of Homesteader's Connection.
Reprinted with permission.


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