Thursday, February 7, 2013

N.C. farm switches from produce to breeding goats

L.W. Shoaf holds two doelings among the rest of his Pygmy goat herd at his farm on Tyro Road on Friday.
Rebekah Cansler McGee/The Dispat
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.
Shoaf Plantation, a staple at the Lexington (North Carolina) Farmer's Market, slowly made the transition this past year from growing produce to raising goats.
L.W. Shoaf, owner of Shoaf Plantation, said he was an integral part of the farmers' market, helping it get off the ground. He has also sold his produce there each summer, but a life-changing situation forced Shoaf's hand. It was either change directions or suffer major consequences.
Shoaf suffered heart problems a couple years ago, and his doctor told him if he didn't do something soon, he would have a massive heart attack. Not only did Shoaf have to have heart surgery, but he needed to reduce his stress.
His answer was to shift from commercial produce to breeding goats.
"I needed to do something with a little less stress on me," Shoaf explained, adding that he had owned goats in some form or other since he was 12 years old.
Before the switch, Shoaf had been growing commercial produce with a specialty in a tomato he dubbed Kangaroo Tomatoes. The farm, kept up by Shoaf and his wife, was just too much after the near heart attack.
"Gosh, I just felt so much peace about making the decision to switch that as the crops matured off, I changed to pasture land," Shoaf said.
Shoaf now raises Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy goats, mostly for pets, but the Nigerian Dwarf goat is also a milk goat. Some of Shoaf's clients are repeat customers, but he also garners new ones through pictures on his website and

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