Brian and Mary Colman raise Animal Welfare Approved dairy goats in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC. Their seven acres were once part of a large tobacco farm years ago. The small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats range across a mixture of pasture, browse, and woods, producing milk that the Colmans use to create hand-crafted soaps. Mary says she is relatively new to farming and every day brings new challenges “Everything I know about farming I have learned in the last five years,” she says. “I can definitely say it has been very rewarding breeding goats, and we have learned all kinds of things about farming! Thank goodness for agricultural sites, the feed stores, farm stores, and fellow goat farmers for their support and information.”
Mary explains that the Nigerian Dwarf goats were a good fit for the farm environment, and their small size means that they are easy to handle: “We have designed our barns specifically to accommodate the smaller-sized goats.” She says that the most important aspect of her farming practices is keeping her animals healthy. Goats at Pinnacle Hills Goat Farm are vaccinated yearly, tested for diseases, treated for parasites (if needed), and fed an appropriate diet. Breeding practices are also paramount, as the Colmans are always trying to improve the genetics of their herd.
On her AWA certification, Mary says, “I decided to become AWA-certified so that I could show the public that we have high standards. Truthfully, it was also to prove to myself that I could meet the standards.” She adds that being involved with AWA is a way for her to continue to educate herself, and to connect with other sustainable farming families. The long-term goal at Pinnacle Hills Goat Farm is continued success with pasture management and to provide superior milking goats and breeding stock to other family farms, as well as mentoring other new farmers on rearing goats sustainably.
Goat milk soap from Pinnacle Hills Farm is available for purchase directly from the farm, and at area farmers’ markets and health food stores. Visit www.pinnaclehillsgoatfarm.com or visit the farm’s facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PinnacleHillsSoaps, for more information.