Goat milking becomes reality

Not far over the Hancock/Henry County line in Henry County you’ll find a farm that raises forages, goats and llamas. It’s a goat dairy, one of the few in Indiana, and it’s well on its way to turning milking goats into a profitable business.

Mike Hoopengardner says he and his wife, Kristy Krikly, and daughter, Jessica, began planning the dairy seven years ago. They’re finishing their first year of milking and producing cheese.

Key Points

Henry County family is convinced their goat dairy will be profitable.

Their secret is making and selling goat cheese.

Their parlor and cheese room were designed with input from Board of Health.


Not many people in the dairy business like to see the Board of Animal Health inspectors show up. Yet the Hoopengardners asked them to come out as soon as location flags were up for their combination parlor and cheesemaking facility. BOAH made suggestions, and the Hoopengardners implemented them. The result is one of the cleanest dairy and dairy processing operations you will find anywhere in Indiana.

Profit angle

This first year, milking about 25 does, was a trial run. They produce fresh cheese, and market it at upscale markets and at a downtown market. Fresh goat cheese fetches up to $15 per pound.

A critical volume is needed to turn a profit. Their goal is to milk 50 to 75 goats.

Overcome obstacles

One of the biggest challenges was finding equipment suitable for milking goats. They designed much of their own setup and had the narrow, hip-high steel-grate parlor floor custom built by Ken Townsend, Townsend Sales, Trafalgar.

The milking equipment consists of old-era stainless-steel Surge bucket milkers with original pulsators. Hoopengardner says the older ones are most reliable.

Their small bulk tank for milk was imported. So was the stainless-steel cheesemaking vat, coming from the Netherlands.

They produce various types of cheese. They hope to add coolers and age cheese so they can sell it in solid form during the winter months when goats are dry.

They market a gallon of goat milk for about $30 through cheese.


01123521a.tif Small-scale equipment: The parlor and equipment may look small, but it’s results that count, Mike Hoopengardner says.

01123521b.tif

Fresh and flavorful: Here is fresh goat cheese in the latter stages of cheesemaking.

This article published in the January, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.