By Tom Collins
LANGTON — A Norfolk farmer wants to have Canada’s largest milking goat herd within the next two years.
Pieter DenHartogh has 750 milking goats on his farm, Lexon G.O.A.T.S., at Langton in Norfolk County. He wants to grow to 5,000 milking goats within two years and is in the process of building a $13-million, 188,000-sq.-ft. facility on a 125-acre farm just down the road once the building permits are approved. The land is purchased, the excavation equipment is ready to go and the buildings have been ordered.
“If I could find the goats, we’d be milking 5,000 goats by next summer,” the 38-year-old told Farmers Forum. “Do I think I can find the goats? No.”
Ontario Goat says the largest Ontario milking goat herd is 1,200. The largest across Canada is just under 2,000.
DenHartogh estimated the foundation will be completed between September and October, with the buildings constructed by January and the milk parlour running by May. The $13-million is for buying the goats, the purchase of land, equipment and buildings.
DenHartogh — who started planning for the expansion three years ago but didn’t start milking goats until last October — said he has investors lined up, but was looking for his local council to waive the $79,000 building permit fee.
However, council is not legally allowed to waive the building permit fee, DenHartogh said. The municipality has funding programs for new businesses and is working with DenHartogh on those programs.
DenHartogh has a background with milking cows, but said there’s more money in goats. He estimated to start a 100-milking cow herd would cost about $6- to $8-million, but to start milking 1,000 goats would cost $4-million as there is no quota involved.
“I think spending millions of dollars on quota is an absolute waste of money,” he said. “I can milk 1,000 goats, and I make a better income and it’s half the investment.”
DenHartogh said he is working with GayLea on the expansion.