By Tom Collins
TROY — Tiffany Drong jumped into the meat goat business in 2012 and expanded quickly while always looking at ways to improve the bottom line. She recently bought out a company that sells mustard and meat rubs that go well on the plate with goat meat. She also plans on producing goat jerky.
Meat goats are a growing market, said Drong, who runs Goats in Motion with her uncle Henry at Troy near Hamilton. More people across the globe eat goat than any other animal and there is not enough supply in North America to meet demand here, she said.
Drong, who grew up on a cow dairy farm, knew she didn’t want to milk either cattle or goats as she didn’t want to be tied down. With meat goats, she only spends about 1.5 hours a day in the barn, giving her most of the day for bookkeeping and marketing through farm markets, on social media and through creating partnerships with other farms.
“Meat goats are a lot less work,” said Drong, who sells the meat at the farm gate and to four restaurants and three butcher shops. “Your capital is a lot less than cattle. There’s no quota associated with it. Feed costs are lower.”
The Ontario Goat association believes Drong is the only full-time meat goat producer in Ontario. Drong was recently presented with an Ontario Goat Advocate Award. Ed Franken, of Frankhaven Farms in Teeswater, and Elo Bowman, of Listowel, — both dairy goat farmers — were other winners.
The 26-year-old said start-up costs vary but can be anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000. She took out a loan when she first started and paid $6,000 for 22 does but has since increased the number of animals to 150.
Drong is in the process of building a new barn and hopes to expand to 500 does within the next two years.
Her best advice for farmers looking to start a goat farm is to work on one first. “Why don’t you go work on a goat farm and then you get your hands-on experience and you know what to expect instead of forking out a couple of hundred thousand getting into it and then deciding you don’t like it,” she recently told a person looking to start milking goats.