The CMGA is such a diverse association with producers across the country. Periodically we are going to spotlight producers willing to give us a peek into their operations. Are you interested in telling us about your farm? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The next producer we will shine our spotlight on is Anna Haupt from Springvalley Boer Goats, Ontario.
Location: Canfield, Ontario
Goat breed: Boer, Traditional Purebred and Registered Percentages
Production type: High Quality Breeding Stock
Describe your operation:
I have been breeding Boer goats for over a decade now after purchasing my first does in 2012. I currently run a small herd of high quality animals and sell mainly breeding stock. My herd is barn or dry lot housed with access to pasture during the spring/summer/fall, as weather permits, however I feed harvested forages year round in order to ensure a consistent plane of nutrition as I feel that single factor has a big impact on overall health and production ability. My focus has always been on producing animals that are conformationally correct, are good mothers and who exhibit strong characteristics of a meat breed (i.e., wide tops, good muscling and strong growth). I also value does with an independent and “gritty” temperament as I feel that temperament has a big impact on resilience/vigour of the individual and of it’s mothering capabilities. In the past I have run a larger herd, producing animals for both breeding stock and as market animals to supply our butcher shop at the time. However, in 2019, we sold our butcher shop, purchased a dairy farm and I downsized my goat herd due to lack of space for the goats at our new location. There were tough decisions made in downsizing but it allowed me to keep only the cream…my very best females out of families that had proven themselves to me over the last decade of breeding. I am very happy with the quality and consistency of females that make up my herd today as a result. I have participated in the GHIP program in the past and track my weaning weights which is a big part of my decision making on which animals to keep as replacements. I also do some limited showing and participate in CMGA’s classification program.
What is your biggest pain point when it comes to farming goats?:
I think over the years my biggest pain point has been just the general lack of resources, especially when it comes to veterinary care/research and production data/tools. It means that so much of what we do as producers in terms of management of our herds has to come down to trial and error and that can be extremely frustrating, not to mention costly.
Other livestock sectors have so many more valuable tools at their disposal to use as selection criteria, production tracking, nutrition and veterinary care. Our industry really lacks all of those things and it makes growing a sustainable, long-term business very difficult. It also has very significant animal welfare implications which should be a concern to all of us since all of livestock agriculture is more and moreunder scrutiny by consumers.
What do you like most about farming goats?:
When it comes right down to it I have goats because I enjoy the animal. I enjoy their personality and that they constantly remind me to see the humour in things. I like that they are a manageable size for me to work with on my own and that I don’t have to worry much about getting hurt seriously. As a mom, I appreciated the ease and relative safety of working with goats through pregnancy and with young children around. On an industry level I love that this is a sector in agriculture where we don’t come close to meeting demand and that demand continues to grow. This is significant because it creates opportunity. I am hopeful that one day we reach a level where there is enough investment into the industry to provide some of the production resources producers need in order to capitalize on some of that potential that is there.
Is there anything that you’re particularly proud of about your operation? Or any standout moments/memories?:
When I stand in my pen and look at the animals that are in there, I am really proud of the herd that I have today, so I’d say that’s my #1. I was also really proud to reach the 10 year milestone last year. Goats are not easy creatures and there is a large turnover of producers in the industry all the time, so I am proud that I have got a herd now that has had a decade of work put into it. I have had some pretty great show results over the years but one of my proudest accomplishments was to have a percentage doe who I purchased as a weaned kid the year I started, Pryme Painted Lady VG 87, end up winning Overall Percentage Doe Champion at the Royal Winter Fair a total of THREE times in her life. She was also a Canadian Show Champion in 2013. I still have offspring from Lady in my herd today. One other really meaningful thing for me was in 2017 when I was the recipient of the Goat Advocate of the Year Award, presented by Ontario Goat. I have always done my best to try and promote the industry, in an open and honest way, so receiving that award was very meaningful for me.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?:
One other thought that I would like to share is that one of my greatest learning experiences as a goat producer over the years has actually been being a board member on the CMGA. I had no idea of some of the challenges and the many topics that the board deals with and handles until I was on it. I know that sometimes we look at time served on boards as a service that a producer does for their industry, however I think that the benefits to my operation in terms of learning, the networking and the connections I made while on the board far exceed my small contributions to it. We are a SMALL industry and our organization is tackling some BIG topics for us that will benefit all of us, collectively. I would encourage producers to give some thoughts on meaningful ways that your particular skillset could give back to the industry. Maybe that’s serving a term on the board, maybe that’s running a local 4-H club, maybe assisting with running a sanctioned show, maybe it’s writing goat related articles for publication, maybe its encouraging your local vet to run some small ruminant specific producer meetings…..there are lots of ways we can all come together and contribute that will have tangible positive outcomes for all of us….but it takes everyone in such a small industry to contribute what and where they can.
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