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Go for the goat

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Worthington, 56187
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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

JACKSON -- Usually, when a 4-H club selects a project that each of its members will take part in, they choose something such as health or safety. The LaCrosse Loyal Workers of Jackson County, however, decided to try something more challenging -- raising goats.

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Throughout the past year, club members hosted speakers at their monthly meetings to explain the different types of goats and their care, and demonstrate proper showmanship and hair clipping.

Those seminars paid off for members like Maddie Collin, who earned reserve champion showmanship and reserve champion interview in her first experience raising a goat. Collin, whose family raises horses, said she learned a lot about goats -- for example, how they can jump over a five-foot-tall fence, and they prefer to be with other goats.

"They get lonely, and they won't eat otherwise," said Collin, who could get her lone market Boer goat to eat only when she put him in the yard with her horses.

While Collin enjoyed her year learning about goat production, she isn't sure she'll stick with it.

"It's between a goat and a calf," she said. Of course, she always has her horses that she shows at the fair as well.

For Whitney Pelzel, however, showing a goat during Wednesday afternoon's market goat show was a completely new experience -- she's never before shown livestock as a 4-H member.

"It's been an experience," she said after leading her goat back to his pen following the goat show. "They don't easily go where you want them to go."

Pelzel and several other LaCrosse 4-H members decided on the final day of the 2005 Jackson County Fair that the club should adopt goats as its club project for the new 4-H year.

"At first, I was all for it," Pelzel said. "I thought it was hilarious. But when we had to walk them every day -- twice a day -- trim them and clip them, I pretty much got in over my head."

Without a place to keep a goat, Pelzel had to travel to fellow 4-H'er Shannon Hussong's place to feed and care for her goat every day. Each 4-H member began caring for his or her goat at the start of summer vacation.By julie buntjer

Daily Globe

JACKSON -- Usually, when a 4-H club selects a project that each of its members will take part in, they choose something such as health or safety. The LaCrosse Loyal Workers of Jackson County, however, decided to try something more challenging -- raising goats.

Throughout the past year, club members hosted speakers at their monthly meetings to explain the different types of goats and their care, and demonstrate proper showmanship and hair clipping.

Those seminars paid off for members like Maddie Collin, who earned reserve champion showmanship and reserve champion interview in her first experience raising a goat. Collin, whose family raises horses, said she learned a lot about goats -- for example, how they can jump over a five-foot-tall fence, and they prefer to be with other goats.

"They get lonely, and they won't eat otherwise," said Collin, who could get her lone market Boer goat to eat only when she put him in the yard with her horses.

While Collin enjoyed her year learning about goat production, she isn't sure she'll stick with it.

"It's between a goat and a calf," she said. Of course, she always has her horses that she shows at the fair as well.

For Whitney Pelzel, however, showing a goat during Wednesday afternoon's market goat show was a completely new experience -- she's never before shown livestock as a 4-H member.

"It's been an experience," she said after leading her goat back to his pen following the goat show. "They don't easily go where you want them to go."

Pelzel and several other LaCrosse 4-H members decided on the final day of the 2005 Jackson County Fair that the club should adopt goats as its club project for the new 4-H year.

"At first, I was all for it," Pelzel said. "I thought it was hilarious. But when we had to walk them every day -- twice a day -- trim them and clip them, I pretty much got in over my head."

Without a place to keep a goat, Pelzel had to travel to fellow 4-H'er Shannon Hussong's place to feed and care for her goat every day. Each 4-H member began caring for his or her goat at the start of summer vacation.

Although Pelzel said she spent a lot of time working with her goat, he didn't cooperate all that well in the show ring Thursday.

"It followed really good, but it actually did a flip once," Pelzel said with a laugh. "It jumped and kind of did a flip in the air -- it was interesting."

Even for Cory Pelzel, who has shown pigs at the fair in previous years, getting used to showing a goat was a challenge.

"Having a leash is a lot different, and having to line it up and get the feet in a rectangle (shape) was harder," he said. "They're just a lot harder than everyone thinks they are. You have to be around them everyday to get them used to you."

Brothers Joe and Austin Liepold, who are also accustomed to showing swine at the fair, had an interesting first experience raising goats. The Liepold family transformed an old barn on their farm to serve as a shelter for the goats, and cut a hole in the side of the building to allow them out to graze in the pasture.

"The first time we set up our pens, our gates were only four feet off the ground," Joe said. "They started jumping out, so we had to put chicken wire up above and stacked gates together, so they couldn't get out."

Austin Liepold said he wouldn't mind keeping goats on the farm, but admitted they are "a little too much work."

"I want to focus on my swine a little more," Austin said, adding that if the club chose goats again as it's club project, he would take part.

"If a whole club can (raise and show goats), one person can do it," he said.

In all, the LaCrosse Willing Workers 4-H Club tagged 17 goats to show at the Jackson County Fair. Those members who had no way of raising a goat could instead do a goatless goat project -- a display that focuses on some aspect of goat production.

All 17 goats used for the club project were leased from George Diemer, a LaCrosse 4-H parent who owns nearly 30 goats and whose son showed milking goats in the 4-H dairy goat show on Thursday.

Diemer said it's nice to see an entire 4-H club take an interest in raising goats.

"The kids have fun with it," Diemer said. "Our kids grew up with goats, and they're an easy animal to work with. Goats don't take much feed and most people have a yard for them.

"Some of the city kids that didn't have any experience with livestock before got to show, too," he added.

Three 4-H families kept their goats on the Diemer farm this summer, and he said each of the 4-H'ers spent time taking care of their own goat daily.

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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