Greg and Ann Christiansen’s Goat farm is located near Parker, Kansas, in Linn County. Today we’re going to learn how this successful goat farm got started, how the goats are cared for and live in harmony with the cattle on this operation and how Greg markets his goats nationwide.
Good morning folks, I’m Jim Shroyer and welcome to That’s My Farm! Behind me here you can see some funny little critters. These are goats and we’re on a goat farm near Parker, Kansas. Actually we’re on the Greg and Ann Christiansen farm and we’re going to be talking with Greg here in just a moment about this operation. So don’t go away, we’ll be right back.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.
(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host and we’re in luck today because we are in Linn County near the town of Parker and it’s a huge town by the way. And with us we have Greg Christiansen. And we’re on the Greg Christiansen…excuse me, we’re on the Greg and Ann Christensen Farm and what’s unusual about this interview, this section we’re gonna have today is that you’re a goat farmer and that’s kind of unusual in the state of Kansas. So, Greg kind of tell us about the whole operation. (Greg) I did a few things but I had a chance to get into farming a little bit, I had some cattle, rented some pasture, got into farming a little bit. I do some row crop farming and I’ve got some cows. About 12-13 years ago I was training border collies and a friend of mine was teaching me how to train my border collie and he was using goats to train ’em on. (Jim) Uh huh. (Greg) And my son was with me and so this friend said, you know I just buy a goat, any goats for you to train with because they’re just too high. They just got real high. So I said, how much does a goat cost? He said, well, gosh they’re up to like maybe $50 dollars. (Jim) Uh huh. And you’re thinking $50 dollars, maybe that’s not so high after all. (Greg) Not today, it’s not high at all. But so I did this little mental exercise with my son, he was in high school and like every high school kid he has trouble with math and like he thinks he’ll never use it. (Jim) Right. (Greg) So, I said, well get your pencil, paper out and we kind of went through the numbers. And you know there could be some money in raising goats because my pastures, I always say my pastures were like, good for goats but that’s about it. They were brushy, poor grass and so we started buying goats. Actually we still have one goat on the place that was born here that first year we had goats. She’s still alive, she had twins this year. (Jim) I’ll be darn. (Greg) So, yeah. It’s… 13 years later we’ve got several hundred goats and several dogs to take care of them, to keep predators away. (Jim) That’s kind of an interesting way to get into it. But you still have some cows and you still…and you said you had some corn and soybeans and a lot of pasture. Mainly fescue? (Greg) Yeah, mainly fescue pasture. It started out brushy pasture and now that brush is kind of gone. So, I miss it cause the goats do real well on it. (Jim) Goats will go for those trees, that shrub, brush. (Greg) I’ve got goats and cows together in pastures. I’ve got goats by their selves, I’ve got cows by their selves. I’ve got goats with other people’s cows. (Jim) Really? Ya, you think about what goats eat, course they eat grass but they also eat forbes and that sort of thing. And the cattle don’t necessarily eat the forbes and that sort of thing, so that’s really… (Greg) Well, sericea lespedeza disease is really invasive and goats they love that. So, I’ve got some goats eating sericea for a guy on his pasture, where his cows are. (Jim) OK, Greg don’t go away, we’ve gotta take a word from our sponsors. You folks at home don’t go away either, we’ll be right back.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. We’re in Linn County, near the town of Parker and we have Greg Christensen with us. And Greg, tell us a little bit about these goats. (Greg) I am weaning goats now, this is a bunch I’ve just weaned a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve been weaning the rest of ’em. I just gather ’em up by pasture. I’ve probably got 10 or 12 pastures of goats from 40 to 160 acres in each pasture. (Jim) And the age of the goats, these goats are? (Greg) These would be born in April. I kid everything in late March through April. In April and so they’re what? Five months old? (Jim) Right, right. (Greg) And so I gather them up and they’ll graze here until, I’ll probably sell them in January. I may have some lighter ones I’ll keep til February. (Jim) You don’t want to back up too far because you’re gonna be kidding again in March and April. So you want to get rid of the last year’s crop. (Greg) Right, right. And see the goat market… it’s lower in the summer and then it gets a little higher, little higher, little higher through the fall. December’s a good month. January’s even better. February is usually a little better. There’s no guarantee. (Jim) Right, right. (Greg) But before Easter it usually stays good. After Easter it tapers off again. (Jim) Through the summer months again. (Greg) It gets lower again. So, if can get a 70 pound goat to market in January, that’s my goal. (Jim) OK. (Greg) And I’ll get, then we’ll always send them. I’m still working on that. (Jim) Sure. (Greg) If you market a 70 pound goat, let’s say your goat’s weaned 50, 60 pounds, 70 pounds in August or September, you know they’re not worth as much as if you would wait til January. But if you took that 70 pound goat, in January he weighs 90 pounds. That’s too heavy. The market doesn’t want that. (Jim) Right, right. (Greg) By waiting until January they’re not quite as picky cause I can get by with selling that 70 pound goat. In November, December they would rather have a 60 pound goat. And a lot of goats coming to market. Sixty pound, the buyer that’s just what he wants. Well, I can’t make as many dollars. on a 60 pound goat. So, I’ll wait til January. They’ll pay just as much for that 70 pounder then as the 60 pound earlier. And they’re usually once a month goat sales. So you have to… if I miss that January sale, I’ve still got the February sale. (Jim) Still gotta feed ’em for another month. (Greg) You gotta feed ’em for another month, yeah. (Jim) So, what do you feed goats? (Greg) Depending on what forage I have here at home, I try to have enough grass grown up here through the late summer. And stock pile it and let the goats graze. You know when the grazing gets less, I’ll start feeding the dry distillers grain from the ethanol plant at Garnett. And I feed ’em, it just depends on their forage, maybe a half a pound a day. (Jim) Of grain, of the distillers grain? (Greg) Yeah. (Jim) And that’s pretty good protein. That’s in that 25 percent protein range. (Greg) Yeah and it’s real high in energy, but it’s fibrous energy. And so it’s not like feeding corn that upsets the ruman bacteria. (Jim) Right. Very interesting. Well, I tell you what. We have to take a break. Greg, don’t go away. And you folks, don’t go away . We’ll be right back as well.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and with us we have Greg Christensen. We’re in Linn County near the big town of Parker. And let’s continue our conversation on goats; it’s kind of fascinating. We were talking about a 70 pound goat. OK, what is the dressing percentage in that? And who buys it and that sort of thing? So, take off there. (Greg) Well, goats don’t dress out very well. I would say the goats I raise would dress out 35 maybe 40 percent. You might get some individual breeds that would dress out a little bit better than that. But… and my goats will go to a sale with hundreds of other goats and they’ll get on a truck and they’re shipped back east to it’s usually ethnic groups that eat ’em. Middle eastern people. (Jim) Cause they have their… the Muslims eat a lot of goat. Mediterranean, like you said, eat a lot of goat. And it’s a lot of festivals, religious festivals in which they eat them. (Greg) But there is more goat meat eaten in the rest of the world, than any other meat. We’re the only country that eats… (Jim) So much beef. (Greg) Exactly. Yeah, there’s a lot of goat meat eaten throughout the world. And we import, the United States imports, I want to say a large part of their goat meat. We can’t raise enough to supply it. You know, these goats, like last year, they brought… the market was $2 dollars and 40 or 50 cents in January per pound. Then you take that goat and it’s slaughtered, after it’s put on a truck. By the time it reaches somebody’s plate they’re paying a pretty hefty price for goat meat, it’s that important to their culture. So, yeah a 70 pound goat, you know, I can’t get ’em all to weight that, but they’re pretty valuable property come
January. I am just always amazed that somebody will pay that kind of money for goat meat. (Jim) And you said you started out some years ago at 75 cents and you thought you were gonna get rich. And so what do you think we’re looking for price this year? Will we get, with beef prices so high, will we hit that magic mark of $3 dollars? (Greg) There were some goats that sold for $3 dollars a pound last year. I didn’t get that much. It was just one sale that I heard of. But yeah, with the other meat complex doing what they’re doing, I would expect that the goat would follow suit. (Jim) I’ve had goat before in Morocco when I was there. And it’s a great… it’s a great meat, I really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it. Greg) People ask me if we eat a lot of goat meat. We don’t really. Occasionally if somebody breaks their leg of something we’ll butcher one, maybe make it into jerky or something but no, I put ’em on a truck, I take the money and I buy beef. And that’s what I like to eat. (Jim) OK….OK. Greg, we’ll be right back. Stay with us. Folks at home stay with us, we’ll be right back.
(Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. And we’re on the goat farm near Parker, Kansas, and with us we have Greg Christensen. What kind of goats do you have? (Greg) I raise some Kiko Bucks. My doe herd has got a lot of Kiko influence. I also raise, or use TexMaster Bucks, which is a bore crossed with a Myotonic, which Myotonic is a fainting goat. You might have heard of… (Jim) Yeah, I’ve seen the YouTube video… (Greg) Yeah, yeah. (Jim) …fainting bucks. (Greg) I don’t know why…somebody told me, they said they used to take these fainting goats and put ’em with their good goats so when the coyotes came up the fainting goat would faint, and the coyote would eat that one and save their good goats. I can’t see how it’s very much a…(Jim) So, it’s… is that a big… predators are a big problem, that’s kind of why you got into the dogs, the herding dogs and the protective dogs. (Greg) Yeah, I have two kinds of dogs, the border collies that would herd ’em up when I need to capture ’em and work ’em. And then I have the guard dogs, the livestock guardian dogs that just live out there with ’em, stay with ’em protect ’em at night. You’ll hear ’em barking and those dogs, it’s just in their nature. It’s in their blood, like a hunting dog hunts, a guardian dog will bond with what you raise it with. You put whatever you want the dog to protect, you put it with it when it’s just a few weeks old. (Jim) A pup, yeah. (Greg) If you want to protect chickens or your kids or whatever. That’s what you put. So I would put ’em with goats. And then they just bond and they’ll go out. If I would get goats out there would be dog out with ’em. They’ll just follow ’em and be with ’em all the time. (Jim) Changing the subject here, you’re also an author. Tell us a little bit about the book that you’ve written and I know you have a calendar as well and where do those funds go? (Greg) Well, I would have people come and they would ride around with me cause they were interested in getting into goats, see what I did with my fencing, how I kept ’em in, what kind of breeds, things you are asking me here. And then they would say, well is there some kind of book that I would get that would kind of tell me all of this? And there wasn’t. I didn’t find one when we were starting and so I attempted to write one and a couple years ago I had it published. It’s called “Raising Meat Goats in a Commercial Operation.” And it just has what we do and how we raise ’em and how I do the fencing and how I market ’em and what I feed ’em. And yeah I take the funds from the book will go to Christian missionaries, Christian groups that spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then I also started this calendar and now I can’t quit. And it’s just pictures of our goats throughout the year. (Jim) They’re great photographs. (Greg) Yeah well, I appreciate it. I try to think of a little caption that goes with it and I sell those in the fall. And I send those proceeds to groups that use goats mostly in heavy Muslim countries where goats are prevalent with their ministry. (Jim) But you also have something in Haiti as well. What did you call it? iId to Kid? (Greg) There’s another organization that I support with some of those funds, called Kid to Kid. They’ll give a kid a kid goat, a two-legged kid a four-legged goat and then that young person will raise that goat up and then they’ll give the first kid one of those back to the organization and they’ll give it to another kid. (Jim) It’s kind of like Heifer International. (Greg) It’s a lot like that yeah. (Jim) Well Greg, let’s take a break right here. And folks, stay with us, we’ll be right back after these words and we’re gonna go out to a pasture here and take a look at goats out in the pasture. So, stay with us.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. With us we have Greg Christiansen on the goat farm near Parker, Kansas. And in this last segment here, let’s talk a little bit about your pasture, cause that’s really an important component of your operation. I see Red Clover here and what else do we have? (Greg) Well, here I’ve got Red Clover there’s some common lespedeza, some fescue. I’ve been stock piling now and I’ll try to stock pile that throughout this fall for winter feed. I’ve got three pastures here and we’ve just laid some pipe and put in water and I’ll be splitting these pasture four times, I’ll have 12 pastures. So, I’ll be able to manage these a lot better. (Jim) So, rotational grazing. (Greg) Right, right. I just feel like I wasn’t getting as much out of these pastures as I should be. So, yeah, getting the water set up was the first thing I needed to do. And then I’ll be strip grazing this through the winter with my cattle and probably with the goats also. (Jim) That come in after the cattle are out. (Greg) No, I’ll put ’em together. A lot of times I’ll be put ’em together. I’ll be weaning my kid crop and they’ll be running over on this, cause it is real high protein, high energy that’s going up now. (Jim) OK. (Greg) And it’s good feed for ’em. (Jim) Well, let’s talk a little bit about how you maintain the pastures, fertility wise. (Greg) Yeah, I took a soil test a few years ago and I was low in phosphorus, potassium. So I’ve been spreading chicken litter, getting it from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri. Have it trucked up. I’ve got a truck and.. (Jim) A spreader. (Greg) A spreader, yeah. And been spreading one to two ton an acre, per year. Trying to get those levels back up where they’ll be productive again. (Jim) Well Greg, I tell you what. I really appreciate you taking time this morning and
talking to us. Not every day we get to talk to a goat producer. And I really appreciate it. I learned a lot today. (Greg) Thanks Jim. (Jim) And folks, stay with us next week because next Friday morning we’ll have another show of That’s My Farm and thank you for being with us.
Closed Captioning brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.