Hometown: Reeds Spring, Mo.
Family: Four grown sons, four granddaughters and one grandson
In Town: Jody LaMaster has worked as a server in Branson, Mo., for several years. She currently works aboard the Showboat Branson Belle. She worked on the Belle for 12 years before going to the Branson Convention Center for 14 years and recently returned to the Belle.
Jody has also managed the University of Missouri Extension Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Taney County, Mo., offering free income tax preparation from January through April, for 18 years.
In the Country: Jody grew up in Clark County, Mo., where she showed goats, cattle and horses as a youth and into her adulthood.
“Sometimes life happens, and divorce happens,” Jody said. “I moved here and ended up moving into town, and it took a long time to get out to the country.”
Jody said she could not afford to start a cattle herd, but she could afford goats.
“We used to look the Boer goats when they first appeared, and I thought they were pretty awesome goats,” Jody recalled. “We went to the state fair every year, even when we lived in town, and I told be boys we could do goats.”
Twelve years later, Jody has a herd of 17 does, with three being Alpine dairy does.
“I got them to substitute milk for the Boers,” Jody said, adding the dairy goats are also show animals for the granddaughter Lucy (who is pictured with Jody).
While her herd may be small, Jody said focusing on quality is her goal.
Kidding is typically Feb. 1 to Feb. 8, with the goal of kidding in a few days.
“When it comes time to sell the boys I don’t keep, I have a clump of kids,” she said.
Goat kids, both bucks and does, are sold as breeding or show prospects, or go to market as feeder kids.
“I retain a few does,” Jody said. “You can’t keep them all, but the ones that will be good for Lucy to show, I will keep those. She loves to show and be with the goats.”
Thanks to her job flexibility, Jody can closely monitor kidding, assist when needed, and quickly assess newborn health.
“The key is to keep them warm, dry and healthy, and their mommas milking,” Jody said.
When kids are a couple of weeks old, Jody administers vaccinations, including CDT.
Raising goats, Jody said, is more than just having livestock.
“I like the value it brings to a family,” she said. “I grew ups showing animals and showed them as an adult, and I wanted to get my boys back into something that would get their feet on the ground and keep them on the ground.”