GOATS' FARM

1. Farm profile

 

Francisc Lulea is an electrician and in 2011 he invested all his money into a goats' farm.

The goats’ farm of Francis Lulea falls into the category of household towards industrial, counting 140 goats. From the production point of view, it is an integrated business. Besides the goat’s shelters, the owner cultivates land of 60 hectares.

The entire milk production is used for producing cheese which is afterwards traded to a shop selling natural products.

There are about 10 people involved in the business.

 

2. Multifunctional Farming

 

Four years ago, when the financial crisis started, Francisc Lulea was working on a constructions site and due to the decrease of contracted works, he had to refocus on another business. Having a culture surface of 60 hectares, plus a grass plot, the owner wanted to grow also animals, so he chose the goats.

Two years ago, he was selling the goats’ milk to a milk processor in the area, but the price was too small, so he had to find a better solution for the delivery. Thus, Francisc Lulea now uses the entire goats' milk in order to produce cheese. Half of the production is sold to the owners who leased the pasture and the rest is traded in a specialized shop.

 

2.1. Situation before Multifunctional Activity

 

After having worked several years in the constructions' field, Francisc Lulea (39 years old), living in Valeni commune, Neamt county, Romania has started a family business. Thus, with the money he had saved, in 2011 he founded a farm of Carpathian goats breed.

Due to the surface culture of 60 hectares, plus the grass plot, the farmer considered he could obtain profit from raising goats, as the goat milk is very healthy and in his area there were only sheep raised.  

 

2.2. Developing the Business Idea

 

The breed of goats raised at the farm is a national one, called Carpathian. Initially, the farm was populated with 125 goats. “We have chosen an indigenous breed. It does not have big productivity, but it is adapted to the environment and resistant to climate and diseases. For improving the breed, we have brought 5 goats and a noble male goat from Germany. 

At the beginning I have noticed that people are somehow reluctant to eating goat meat and there was not a big request for the produced milk either. But lately I have noticed a change, people have started to buy more goat milk, as well as goat meat which is very healthy.

 

2.3. Multifunctional Agriculture

 

The farm called „Domniţa” situated in the David village ensures the entire quantity of fodder for the goats. The owner ensures a surface of 2.500 square meters for raising the goats, as well as a grass plot of 30 hectares. The farmer cultivates 60 hectares with alfalfa, sunflower and corn. Half of the land is leased and half is taken into use, the owners receiving goods or money for the land. The multifunctional agriculture offers farmers the opportunity to increase their income and create added value by extending their activities.

 

2.4. Financing the New Business

 

The farmer has used his own funds for starting the business, as he had a constructions company. He continued to work both in the constructions field and to set up the goats’ farm, in order to be closer to his family.

It took him 2 years to set up the farm. He initially bought 150 goats of Carpathian breed at a cost of 350 RON each. In the second year he reduced the herd to less than a half as he was not satisfied with the level of production. He selected the goats and currently he has 100 milk goats and 40 baby goats.

 

2.5. Outcomes of the Business Development

 

The farm ensures the entire fodder for the goats. If the surface for raising the goats has 2500 square meters, the goats benefit also of a grass plot of 35 hectares. In 2013, the farmer cultivated 60 hectares with alfalfa, sunflower and corn. The farmer income is very good, because the demand for the goat's milk is very high.

The farmer has also a farm of hens rather for exhibition purposes and for the following years he plans to raise also cows and set up a fish pond. The new activities are at the beginning. They don't represent an important part of the income.

 

3. Skills for Multifunctional Agriculture

 

Before starting such a business, one has to be very well informed, to ask for advice for specialists in the field. To run such a business one needs wide knowledge about raising goats, as well as total involvement in monitoring their health.At the same time, it is important to have knowledge on processing milk and milk products, but also knowledge on business management.

 

3.1. Promoter and Staff Competences

 

Although the main job of the farmer is that of electrician, he was born in the countryside and he had experience in the agricultural field. At the same time, he started a constructions firm, having thus the entrepreneurial skills, as well as the necessary skills for leading a business.

Besides the employees, the farmer is helped also by the family, including his wife. The goats are registered on his name, but the agricultural business is led by means of a limited company.

 

3.2. Access to and Management of Skills and Know-How

 

For managing the goats’ farm, the farmer cooperates with a veterinary.

 

4. Experiences & Recommendations

 

A goat farm can produce profit from the first year. In Romania there are over 2 million goats. In Europe there are around 19 million goats and the goats produce 20% of world milk production. The goat gives a lot of milk compared to what it consumes, it produces 8-20 times more than its own weight.

Raising goats can be a profitable business, but in order to maintain goats during the winter there is a need for fodder in order to keep the entire herd and all the baby goats that are born. In order to start a business with goats, one needs a minimum investment of 100-200 goats, in the first place. Afterwards, one will need minimum 4 shepherds to watch the goats, irrespective of their number. The goats business is indeed profitable if you are in charge of it, of you invest in it and if you promote the products of the farm.

 

4.1. Implementing the Business Idea

 

The initial investment was in 2011 of 40.000 RON for the goats and 30.000 RON for the fodder. Afterwards, there was the investment in a new tractor of 21.500 Euros, which led to a total of almost 38.000 Euros.

Although the goats are resistant animals, they need a shelter. They are resistant to low temperatures but the humidity is a risk factor for the animals.

Because the goats have to be milked three times a day, there is a need for an automatic milking machine that costs around 1.000 Euros. Such a device has 4 milking spots, it is self-washable and it shows if you have milked the entire milk quantity. A goat releases an average quantity of 1.5 litters a day.

 

4.2. Finding Supporters for the Business Concept

 

He is supported in running the business by his wife, his brother, but also by the veterinary doctor in order to ensure the health of the animals.

 

4.3. Promoter‘s Advice

 

„It is difficult for someone who does not know the field to start the business. You need to be with the goats 200% of your time, in order to be able to take care of them. No matter how much you trust your employees, for sure they cannot take care of the goats better than you”.

 

4.4. Queries and Consideration

 

In the case of the goats’ farm, it is clear that one needs to be well informed before starting the business and also to ask for advice from specialist.

The lack of information can lead to big losses for the entrepreneur farmer. At the same time, it is clear that although the animals are not very picky as regards food, they need a shelter during the entire winter, as well as proper care.

It is clearly a niche business that can be profitable if the farmer is well informed and prepared.

 

Extra information:

 

Multifunctionality, Or MultifunctionalAgriculture

 

Multifunctionality of Agriculture: A Review of Definitions, Evidence and Instruments

 

Case study in PDF

 

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