Cypress Grove’s model dairy is just a short drive north of our Arcata creamery in an agricultural area called Dow’s Prairie.
No Goats, No Glory
Managed by Ryan Andrus, the dairy is designed and managed primarily with the health and happiness of our herd in mind. Our animals have access to both pasture and well-ventilated, naturally-lit indoor areas - not to mention enough space and time for loafing between milkings to make our cheesemakers jealous. We even jokingly refer to the dairy as the "country club." But don’t take our word for it; the American Humane Association endorsed our model dairy as Humane Certified with a 100 percent score.
Why a Model Dairy?
For years, the American goat industry was every woman for herself: survival of the fittest. Many goat farmers came from third and fourth-generation cow dairy families and considered goats to be miniature cows. These struggling families learned the hard way that goats are very different animals with unique dietary and medical needs.
The main goal for our dairy was to become an easily accessible source of knowledge for our milk producers and commercial goat dairies in America, which is in its infancy compared to its European counterparts. To ensure that we designed and built the best dairy possible, we spent years traveling the world gleaning knowledge from countries where goat husbandry is much more advanced. These countries include Israel, Holland, France, Spain, and Switzerland.
A well-designed dairy not only supplies us with additional milk, but also sets a standard of excellence in North America while attracting new goat dairy advocates. In addition to offering support, we continue to buy high-quality goat milk from partner producers. Devoting this much time and effort while simultaneously making some of the world’s best goat cheese is a significant and necessary commitment.
Construction is Complete...Well Almost
Now that we have put that hard-earned research to use, we are finally beginning to see the results. Following our core beliefs of humane treatment, tried-and-true genetics, and investment in excellent feed, we are enjoying exceptional herd health. As far as we can tell, our goats produce more milk per head than any other commercial dairy in the United States. We’re now offering the fruits of our labor to other commercial producers looking to grow and expand their dairying capabilities. As the number of visitors interested in learning about our dairy practices increases, so does our pride in knowing that our dedication to American goat dairies is beginning to pay off.
We’re still learning and still slowly growing our herd, but we’ve already started to make major contributions to American goat dairies by sharing:
- Quality Stock: Supply breeding stock to other producing dairies as a means of enhancing their genetics, milk quality, and profitability.
- Nutrition: We work with an expert small-ruminant nutritionist to help source the best feed and balance the diets of our animals.
- Sharing Expertise: Our veterinarian helps us troubleshoot challenges, evolve our herd health plan, and assist with regular pregnancy scans and general health checks. Our veterinarian regularly visits all the dairies that supply Cypress Grove with milk, and helps to spread the information we learn from our model dairy to enhance their family farms.
- Scheduling: We work to balance our milking, breeding, and kidding calendars to match cheese demands to produce the best possible cheese, and to ensure it is available when people need it.
- Training: Other farms often send their farm managers to study Cypress Grove’s management practices and learn advanced techniques related to: raising kids, feed efficiency auditing, genetics and data management, identification, worksite safety, milking parlor hygiene, and developing SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and HHPs (Herd Health Plans).