The Dahls run Savanna goats and Angus cattle. They have one of the oldest herds of Registered Angus in South Dakota and are the 5th gener- ation on their family homestead.

Make sure you have a good mentor By Jason Dahl

It seems that so many new goat enthusiasts are getting out of goats faster than they’re getting into goats. Today’s goat prices, whether it be market or breeding stock, look like an easy way to make money. There’s so much more involved for a successful operation. The first question should be who is mentoring you? If you know nothing about goats but have raised other livestock, such as we have, and think “well, it can’t be that different.” Think again! We’ve always been around cattle. So we didn’t think it’d be that hard of a transition. Re- planting the garden three times — strawberry plants, black berry bushes and roses gone! Needless to say, my wife Karlia was NOT HAPPY!

Her words when I left to help her friend go get a few goats were: “Do Not bring any goats home!” I heard “Let’s see what happens.”

Jason and Darlia Dahl

After 16 years of ups and downs, we’re still moving forward with rais-

ing range-designed goats. We chose Savannas when our kids were done showing. It has been our best decision after seeing our first cross of a Savanna buck over our Boer does. Our main focus has been to raise hardy, vigorous, low-mainte-

nance goats. They must thrive on the range in the summer and main- tain in our harsh winters. In reality, we didn’t get to this point in our operation alone. It involved making lots of calls to seasoned producers to find answers as our veterinarians were not real familiar with goats in our region in the beginning. Things have changed a lot over the years with the In- ternet and social media playing a big part. Yet, Google doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to goats. Many things are “off” label

16 Goat Rancher | November 2021

The goats must be hardy enough to thrive South Dakota winters.

for goats and require a veterinarian’s knowledge for usage of the pro- ducts we use.

Learning from other producers is, in our opinion, still the best tool you can have. We were featured in a book titled The Complete Guide to Small-Scale Farming back in 2010 written by DVM Melissa Nelson. The words we used then still hold true today: “The Best ad- vice they have is to talk to others in the business prior to purchasing any goats.” Don’t go it alone! If we goat producers stick together as we were told in beginning, we’ll all succeed.

(Jason and Karlia Dahl operate Heartland Savannas in Estel- line, S.D. They can be contacted at 605-880-1354 or visit heartland-

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