Wisconsin, Paul Ryan’s home, is the nation’s top dairy goat state, producing $10.5 million in milk, mostly for trendy goat cheeses, but now that industry is in trouble, reports Karen Herzog at the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. Before the summer drought, industrial growth was projected to continue, with 71% of operations planning on increasing the size of their milking herds in the next five years. But a weak economy and high fuel prices took a bite out of those dreams, and now the drought has slowed the state’s dairy goat boom, forcing many farmers to cull their herds. The dry weather has devastated feed crops, sending the price goat feed, that is, grain and hay, skyrocketing. Other farmers are scrambling to cobble together enough feed to carry them through winter and spring, when new crops can be planted with hopefully better prospects. But some farms are folding, as the price of goat milk remains unchanged, making it more expensive to feed the goats than to sell them. The state has lost roughly 6,000 dairy goats in the past year.
Goat farmers feeling pinch in dry year. Wisconsin is the nation’s top dairy goat state, producing $10.5 million in milk that mostly goes into trendy goat cheeses. Over 44,000 goats grazed Dairyland pastures as of January. But the drought this summer has slowed the state’s dairy goat boom and forced many farmers to cull their herds. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Karen Herzog,