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March 16, 2014

Day on the farm: Goat barn welcomes visitors

Cass farm educates visitors on Nigerian Dwarf goats

Grace Ison, 8, received smiling praises from her mom and grandparents after milking a Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat at a farm outside Logansport Saturday afternoon.

This summer, she will show the same breed of goat in the Johnson County 4-H Fair. Grace’s mom, Mindy, said the family has boer-cross goats, but wanted something easier to work with, like a smaller, calmer Nigerian Dwarf, for her daughter’s first year in 4-H.

The Isons made the two-hour drive to the Twin Willows Farm for its inaugural spring open house to learn more about the goats and pick up two of their own, one of which Grace will enter in this summer’s fair.

By midmorning Saturday, more than 30 people of all ages filled the goat barn of the farm, which is northwest of Logansport on 400 West. Throughout the day, they learned everything about how to take care of the animals to how to make products from their milk.

The farm, which started in May 2011, is a family business run by Brandon and Erica Hopkins and Erica’s parents, Larry and Kathie McCarter. Erica, who manages the farm, said the property was originally purchased for its ponds to accommodate the bullfrogs her father wanted to raise. They got 100 tadpoles and put them in the ponds. The only thing left to do was wait two years until they reached adulthood.

“We needed something to do in the meantime,” Hopkins said.

Her husband raised goats while living in Colorado, so they started doing research and narrowed down their breed of choice to the Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat for their manageability and a docility they felt would mix well with their young children. The farm started out with a buck and a doe and has since expanded to produce 20 to 30 kids a year.

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