Dairy Goat Industry Sees Opportunity In Product Innovation

It’s kidding season on Wisconsin dairy goat farms. That means sweet baby goats and increased milk production. But it’s not the only excitement the goat dairy industry is witnessing in 2024.

Anna Thompson Hajdik, vice president of the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association and director of the Upper Midwest Region for the American Dairy Goat Association, says the dairy goat industry has an incredible opportunity as demand is high and the room for product innovation is endless.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk goat inventory in Wisconsin as of Jan. 1 was 74,000 head. Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in the nation for dairy goats.

The Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association “promotes the goat” for Wisconsin dairy goat producers. There are more than 75 families who belong to the association. Thompson Hajdik says consumer demand is strong for goat milk products.

The association continues to get inquiries about where to find goat milk supply for products ranging from pet food to gelato.

Thompson Hajdik explains the fat globules are smaller than those in cow milk and the curd is softer and smaller, making the digestion easier. Those allergic to cow milk may tolerate and thrive on goat milk. Goat milk is used for cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, and hygiene products.

She says she wants the industry to explore how to expand in snack foods, such as string cheese. Currently, goat cheese is seen as more of a premium than an everyday product.

In her interview with Mid-West Farm Report, Hajdik also comments on the news that Saputo is closing two facilities and rerouting production to its Reedsburg plant.