Hi Everybody

bggrant2

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I am so grateful to be a part of this community. I am a new and beginning farmer located in Chenango Forks, NY. I currently have two elderly meat goats that I inherited from the former owners. I am interested in raising organic dairy cows (Guernsey or Jersey), organic dairy goats, organic sheep, organic chickens, and growing organic fruits and vegetables.

Right now, I am researching which dairy cow breeds work well in upstate New York. I am interested in A2/A2 genetics.
 

Ridgetop

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Are you going organic for sales purposes or for your own eating? I ask because if you are planning to sell your meat, dairy, or produce as "Organic" you need to check your farm extension office to find out how to get that designation.

I like jersey cows, they are smaller but with lovely rich milk, high butterfat %, and such pretty faces. They also produce enough meat for home use. If you want just enough milk for household use, standard dairy goat breeds would fulfill that purpose and be smaller to house and handle. Bred to a Boer buck your standard dairy goats will produce a meat carcass. As to sheep are you going for fleeces to spin or sell? or for meat. There is a big difference in breeds for those two purposes. Growing fruit trees and veggies without pesticides means that you can feed all trimmings and leftover fruit to yiur livestock. I notice you don't want pigs - they are good to fatten on windfall fruit. If allowed to run in the orchard, they will also root out any pests that like to winter in the soil around the trees, hatching to eat your precious blossoms and fruit in the spring. They also are good for using up any spoiled or sour milk.

How large is your farm? How many members of your family will be working with you on it? Children make the best unpaid labor. LOL They enjoy the animals, not so much mucking out pens!
 

bggrant2

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Thank you so much for your reply! I'm going organic for my own eating purposes, but plan to work with Cornell Cooperative Extension to become registered as an organic farm. The farm is 56 acres in total - 4 acres on one side of the highway and 52 acres across the street. Some of the 52 acres is in forest. About 27 acres available for pasture. There are also some maple trees that I plan to tap.

Jersey and Guernsey cows are the ones that keep coming up for me. I'm leaning toward Guernseys because I hear Jersey bulls are difficult to deal with, especially for beginning farmers. I'm trying to learn more about the temperament of Guernsey bulls.

I'm thinking of using goat milk for soap. I'm thinking of using sheep for clothing. Also thinking about organic chickens for eggs and tapping the maple trees.

My goal is to use as little machinery as possible, but to set up a rotational grazing system with the animals for land cultivation.

Right now it's just me and a small group of friends.
 

bggrant2

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Hey! I've been learning about AI as well. Seems like a good option for someone just starting out. Requires some timing, but seems easier than starting with a bull. Thank you!

My dad is from Mount Pleasant, Texas. I spent a lot of summer in East Texas as a child!
 

Mini Horses

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@Baymule beat me to it -- AI before a bull!! When you have a couple years under your belt, then you can talk about bulls!! Machinery can be sooo helpful -- friends lose interest fast, especially when times are tough. A tractor won't backtalk, just keep it serviced and it won't call out for appointments or being tired from work. I'm a loner and my only complaint for my tractor is that I didn't buy sooner!

What experience have you with farming/livestock?

Trust me -- the chores, needs, requirements, disappointments, success and very long days add up fast! Move slow enough to handle it. 🥰.

It's exciting and rewarding but, a demanding lifestyle. It IS a LIFESTYLE...different from most anything most people would expect, or want to do beyond in their dreams. I'm hoping you can handle it, we need more small farms to succeed.
 
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Baymule

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I will tell you this about going organic with sheep and goats. Parasites. Worms. I don’t know of anything organic that can kill a load of worms. Organic wormers are at best, a preventative, but often, that is not enough. I raise Katahdin sheep and I breed for and cull for parasite resistance. But I also use commercial worm products. I do my own fecal tests so I can identify which sheep truly need worming. Parasites spike in times of stress, giving birth, weaning and even moving them from one farm to another.

I use GarlicBarrier if the worm count is low and I recommend it. But if an animal is wormy with a high count, organic or herbals won’t save it. I buried a few.

Rotating pastures can help with parasites, with long rest periods. That can be hard to do f you have a small farm. Not trying to discourage, just be aware.

New York to Mount Pleasant is quite a trip. I bet you have warm childhood memories of East Texas!
 

bggrant2

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@Baymule best me to it -- AI before a bull!! When you have a couple years under your belt, then you can talk about bulls!! Machinery can be sooo helpful -- friends lose interest fast, especially when times are tough. A tractor won't backtalk, just keep it serviced and it won't call out for appointments or being tired from work. I'm a loner and my only complaint for my tractor is that I didn't buy sooner!

What experience have you with farming/livestock?

Trust me -- the chores, needs, requirements, disappointments, success and very long days add up fast! Move slow enough to handle it. 🥰.

It's exciting and rewarding but, a demanding lifestyle. It IS a LIFESTYLE...different from most anything most people would expect, or want to do beyond in their dreams. I'm hoping you can handle it, we need more small farms to succeed.
AI it is! Thanks for the confirmation. I hear you about friends! I have a couple old machines - an old Craftsman Tractor and an old ATV with a brushhog.

I have no experience with farming/livestock. I plan to take your advice and take it slow! Thank you for the words of encouragement re: small farms!
 

bggrant2

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I will tell you this about going organic with sheep and goats. Parasites. Worms. I don’t know of anything organic that can kill a load of worms. Organic wormers are at best, a preventative, but often, that is not enough. I raise Katahdin sheep and I breed for and cull for parasite resistance. But I also use commercial worm products. I do my own fecal tests so I can identify which sheep truly need worming. Parasites spike in times of stress, giving birth, weaning and even moving them from one farm to another.

I use GarlicBarrier if the worm count is low and I recommend it. But if an animal is wormy with a high count, organic or herbals won’t save it. I buried a few.

Rotating pastures can help with parasites, with long rest periods. That can be hard to do f you have a small farm. Not trying to discourage, just be aware.

New York to Mount Pleasant is quite a trip. I bet you have warm childhood memories of East Texas!
Wow! This is a lot to think about. I plan to do rotational grazing, but I'm grateful to you for sharing this information. Where do the worms come from?
 

Mini Horses

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We do NOT want to discourage you -- huge group of enablers here!🥰 The years of experience we share will do well for you starting up. Been doing this over 50 years...last 25 alone. It's doable, with caution and good sense. While we will cheer you on, laugh with your adventures and cry with you on losses, we'll also try to guide you with our own good/bad experiences.

There is so much knowledge & experience on this forum that you can tap into. 👍 By the way, go Jersey 🤣. Personally, Saanen dairy & Boer meat goats here.
 
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