A Few Pointers for New Entrants

Some new entrants to the industry may lack experience with milking operations and/or managing goats. If you know someone who is getting into the dairy goat business, here are a few pointers to help them get started.

Visit OMAFRA's Dairy Food Safety Program website for information on requirements and steps to getting started.

  • Contact an OMAFRA Raw Milk Specialist (see When to Contact your OMAFRA Raw Milk Specialist) to discuss plans and approvals in advance of any building construction or renovations.
  • Contact a milk broker or licensed dairy processing plant regarding milk marketing. Goat milk producers are responsible for securing their own market.
  • Contact Ontario Goat for many other helpful resources.
  • Plan and Prepare. The process for getting a dairy goat farm up and running usually takes many months and may require building permits, nutrient management strategies, farm lane upgrades, construction and equipment installation. All of these steps require coordination and time.
  • Facilities should be ready when goats are at the farm and ready to be milked. Bringing lactating goats into a farm without functioning milking facilities could be a recipe for disaster. Facilities need to be Grade A approved before goat milk can be marketed.
  • Buyer Beware! Producers should always consider the health status of the animals they are purchasing. For existing producers, animals should be purchased from herds with an equal or higher health status than their own herd. It is important to develop a biosecurity plan with your herd veterinarian and identify diseases of concern for your operation. Producers should insist on seeing the milk test results of the herd for the last three months and any animal health records (i.e. diseases, treatments, vaccinations, test results). Existing producers are advised to be cautious when bringing goats onto their farm, even if you arejust temporarily housing goats owned by others. Diseases such as Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) and Johnes can quickly infect a herd with devastating consequences. Get all test results before agreeing to accept any new goats on the farm. For more information check out at the Biosecurity Planning Guide for Canadian Goat Producers.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Brenda Norris - Dairy Food Safety Progra, Food Inspection Branch/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 27 July 2015
Last Reviewed: 30 July 2015