KRISTINA KEEDY AND PAMELA DEAN FROM EMERALD DAIRY GOAT ASSOCIATION TAUGHT THE CHEESE MAKING FOR THE HOME DAIRY SEMINAR. ONE OF THE 11 SEMINARS ATTENDEES COULD TAKE. Photo Provided/Melissa Fery
Goat lovers across Oregon and Washington joined together on Nov. 3 in Pleasant Hill for Dairy Goat Day, which was sponsored by Oregon State University Small Farmers Extension Program and Emerald Dairy Goat Association (EDGA) in Cottage Grove.
”We are so happy to be paired with OSU this year,” Laura Lounsbury, EDGA president, said. ”They have been a big asset to us in putting everything together.”
Last year, Lounsbury suggested to the association that they should host an educational day to ”ramp up numbers for our non-profit group and encourage 4-H kids.” She was inspired by the Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Associations’ annual conference, and attended OSU’s goat education event.
”It made sense to combine our efforts,” Melisa Fery, OSU Small Farmers Extension Program agent, said. ”(The program) is all about community education and helping landowners or small acreage owners meet their goals.”
She said she prefers when OSU Extension holds events in rural communities because she likes to meet small farms where they’re at.
”People drive from all over if it’s important to them,” she said.
Fery also said that the program puts out needs assessments and workshops to ask farmers what they need to know to work more efficiently. The seminar topics were chosen by EDGA and Small Farms Extension, and were geared toward both beginners and life long learners.
”Our hope is that everyone, beginner or expert, can take away a few new pointers,” Lounsbury said.
Seminars included: Adventures with Pack Goats, Common Diseases of Goats, Getting Started with Milk Certification, Cheese Making for the Home Dairy, Managing Internal Parasites, Livestock Guardian Animals, Raising Goats for Meat, Pasture Management, Finessing Freshening: The 123s of Milking, Herbal Goat Foundations and Handling Goat Emergencies the Herbal Way.
During lunch, a demonstration by Becky Gee with EDGA showed attendees ”how to build an inexpensive milk stand from PVC.”
One of the 50 attendees was newer goat owner Marit Vike. For her, Dairy Goat Day was an opportunity for her and her husband to learn more information about their animals – and celebrate their anniversary.
Vike has had goats for four years, after her goat enthusiast friends inspired the couple to get their own. Although they consider the goats pets and do little milking, Vike said she was most looking forward to health and pasture management seminars.
Lounsbury said she was excited about this year’s growth – double the attendance from last year – as well as the variety of different topics.
”The Emerald Dairy Goat Association is committed to sharing knowledge of goats with others,” she said. ”It is also a fundraiser for our non-profit to keep our group alive, as well as encourage 4-H kids in the goat project.”
For Fery, after all the planning, she enjoys watching attendees network and learn from each other.
”Knowing they’re getting some quality educational seminars today,” she said. ”Anything they glean and apply to their farms is good for everyone. Good for water quality, soil and (the) animals.”