Cold weather has found us, but that’s not keeping farmers from caring for their livestock. Montgomery County Farm Bureau board member Brad Young has been caring for kidding goats the past few weeks. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, “kidding” is how we say that goats are giving birth. Their offspring are referred to as “kids.” Brad and his family brought goats to the farm three years ago and they are currently delivering their second crop of kids.
“Well, we started in the goats in 2018. We bought ten young does from Emily and Mark Hughes of Hillsboro. They are Kiko goats. We chose Kiko goats because they’re pretty hearty and they’re adapted to rugged stuff. They eat brush and all kinds of things. They’re very low maintenance. I had the facilities from my hog days and so we converted those into our nursery and they’ve adapted to going in and out of the shed. The reason why we really got into them is because we’ve had comments from family coming to visit saying that this isn’t much of a farm since we don’t have any livestock anymore. So, I thought well, I’ve had hip replacement, my dad has had hip replacement, I’m not getting back into cows to be a farmer. They’re just too big. So, I thought let’s try some goats.”
Brad said the goats are low maintenance and are easy to care for. The Kiko breed is a meat goat and were created by crossbreeding a feral goat with a dairy goat in New Zealand.
“You give them very little grain. They eat hay. They grow pretty fast. They are a meat goat and can survive on just about anything. If you have any brush, briars, poison ivy, they just love that stuff.”
In addition to the goats, Brad also has a row crop operation to manage. He represents East Fork Township on the MCFB Board and farms in that area of the county with his family.
“Well, we’re about half and half corn and soybeans. Four hundred acres of corn, four hundred acres of soybeans. And we are 15-inch (rows) corn and soybeans. We started that change over about five years ago because we are in the southern part of the county. It seems like our soils are more droughty. So, to manage our water and to try to get to the next level of yields with our soil, we just assumed we could space our corn out more and utilize our nutrients and our water. I live in section 32 of the county and most of the ground we farm is south of the prison, south of Hillsboro, and southeast of Hillsboro. My dad and my mom–I couldn’t do it without them. My mom is an excellent cook and gives us rides back and forth from the field. My son works full time but will occasionally help and we have friends who help out during harvest time and we really appreciate them.”
And as if farming doesn’t keep him busy enough, Brad has volunteered on several local boards over the years. From Montgomery County Soil and Water to now Farm Bureau and the Hillsboro Hospital Board, I asked Brad how his interest started and what got him involved.
“Well, we’ve always been Farm Bureau members. Just wanting to be around other farmers and getting their input. It’s always good to talk to other farmers and see where they’re at. We don’t have that opportunity too much in agriculture any more. It’s just nice to have someone to talk to that’s in farming.”
Brad also mentioned that staying educated and on top of current trends was also a big a reason he has stayed involved locally and he commends the healthcare workers for all they have dealt with through the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he has learned a lot serving on the hospital board and tips his hat to everyone involved.
As we near the end of our February column I wanted to remind you that we are still accepting scholarship applications. Those are due to the office by March 3. And since we last talked, we have started taking Prep Freeze Cook orders. Orders and payment are due to the office by Feb. 25 at noon. The order includes ten frozen meals that serve five or two people. Visit our website or stop in the office for an order form. Thanks for taking time to grow your roots in local agriculture. Take care.