By Maya Kaufman
Goats are one of the world’s most versatile farm animals, and at an event hosted last Saturday morning in Peirce Pub, the Knox County Goat Improvement Association (KCGIA) explained why.
In conjunction with Kenyon’s Rural Life Center, the KCGIA sponsored a series of speakers who led cooking demonstrations and instructed a diverse audience on the ins and outs of goat farming. The KCGIA was founded in 2001 with the goal of helping others increase the quality of their goat farming and encourage a more widespread exhibition of goats at fairs.
A major goal of the KCGIA is “educating people on raising goats and what you can use the goat for,” said treasurer of the KCGIA Amy Yauger-Loeschke, who also works for AVI at Kenyon.
Yauger-Loeschke worked with Professor of Sociology Howard Sacks, Director of the Kenyon Rural Life Center, to bring the goat seminar to Kenyon.
“Kenyon has become more into sustainable farming and agriculture, so we wanted to educate students on how to raise goats and what to use them for,” Yauger-Loeschke said.
“What we’re trying to do is show the public that goats are really universal in the way they’re used,” said Bill Belton, president of the KCGIA. “You can use the meat, the mohair and the dairy to make a lot of different products.”
The event included a demonstration on making goat’s milk ricotta cheese and a discussion on the history of angora goats and how to raise them to produce quality mohair fabric. Participants were able to sample different goat products, including peanut butter fudge made from goat’s milk.
The goat seminar focused not only on the versatility of goats but also the benefits of using goat products.
“Goat milk is healthier than cow’s milk,” Belton said. “It’s the same with the meat. It’s a leaner meat and it’s got higher protein. A lot of people maybe don’t realize that goat meat tastes good. It can be used in a lot of different recipes, and it’s good for you.”
Yauger-Loeschke describes the taste of goat meat as being somewhere between deer and beef.
The event — which drew an audience of professors, locals and curious students — served as a way to connect the Kenyon community with the local farming community.
Reactions to the event were overall positive, and many participants left inspired to try to make these goat products themselves.
“I think it’s a chance to see a different type of knowledge than we would get in class,” participant Leah Hindel ’15 said. “This is practical, and this is what people are actually doing in the [Knox County] area.”
“I think it’s really interesting that there’s a Goat Improvement Association in Knox County,” said Kim Selwyn ’15, who also attended the event. “That’s a side of Knox County that you don’t necessarily see from going to Kenyon.”
“[The goat seminar events] show how goat farming is very versatile and maybe more sustainable, because you’re using the whole product,” Hindel said. “I think it would be cool to make goat cheese at some point.”
For the future, students expressed interest in an event in which they are able to try making the goat products themselves.
“I think hands-on tutorials would be cool if they could get a smaller group,” Selwyn said.
For Kenyon students who were unable to attend the event, other seminars hosted by the KCGIA are advertised on the group’s Facebook page.