Via, Faelan and Declan Powers added dairy goat production to their 4-H projects and are active in shows. Photo by Marissa Snider.
Via, Faelan and Declan Powers added dairy goat production to their 4-H projects and are active in shows. Photo by Marissa Snider.

The Powers siblings have added goats to their family farm

BENTONVILLE, ARK. – The COVID-19 pandemic was a time of change. As the Powers family of Bentonville, Ark., stepped back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they decided it was time to pour themselves into something productive. 

It all started with a floppy-eared Nubian goat. The oldest child, Belvia, Via for short, and her two younger brothers, Declan and Faelan, decided to pick up a new 4-H project. What started as a flickering interest in a docile breed of smaller livestock quickly blossomed into a hobby filled with American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) shows, breeding, milking, and testing out a variety of goat milk recipes.

Today, their family farm, Infinite Farms, is home to a small herd of Nubian and Saneen dairy goats. 

“We chose Nubians as our primary stock because they have a mild-flavored, slightly sweet milk,” Via said. 

However, Nubians don’t produce the most significant volume so they’ve added Saanen to the herd for volume.

Since purchasing their first goat a couple years ago, the Powers family has experimented with different feeding and management practices to optimize the taste profile and production of their goat milk. On the farm, they keep about four goats in production. Declan highlighted the importance of having multiple goats because dairy goats are prone to mastitis infections.

“Right now, we have one goat at home that we’re treating for mastitis,” Declan said,and at just 10 years old, detailed how this type of infection affects milk quality and what they are doing to treat it. 

Learning good animal hygiene and records management practices can help reduce the occurrence of mastitis. These are both key skills the Powers kids are learning with hands-on activities through their 4-H projects. The 4-H program emphasizes record keeping, encouraging participants to log animal care activities and complete record books.

Although their herd is small, it’s a manageable size for three kids just getting started in the dairy goat business. With help from their parents, Robert and Kimee, the Powers family is jumping into the dairy goat business feet first with quality milk from well-managed Nubian goats which, in their opinion, make the best milk.

Declan Powers showing his goat. Photo by Marissa Snider.
Photo by Marissa Snider

“Their milk has the highest butterfat content so it’s really creamy,” Declan explained. 

The Powers family has been focusing on choosing strong breeding stock.

The family looks for three things. First, a bright, healthy-looking, alert animal. Sickness can impact the entire herd and negatively impact milk production, Declan and Via explained.

The second is a good temperament. Nubians are known for being a docile breed. The siblings said so most of their herd are “pretty good,” but there’s always one. 

“We do have one goat that really doesn’t like boys. We have to be careful with her because she has been known to chase my brothers and friends around,” Via said. “We try not to choose goats that are hard to handle because we’ll be working with them a lot to milk them and show them.” 

Then, the third factor is breed characteristics and confirmation. 

“We want a soft, shiny coat and smooth knees. Nubians should also have an upright tail,” Via said “Some of these faults might not directly affect milk production, but since we’re breeding to keep our animals in production we want to promote good genetics.”

So, what is the Powers family doing with all that milk? They drink it, they cook with it and they sell it. 

Kimee and Robert have tested out dozens of goat milk-based cheeses and other recipes. Combining a flair for culinary adventures with their family adventure in agriculture helps bring the family’s Bentonville hobby farm full circle.

The family is active in 4-H, which has been great for all three kids. Via said she enjoys the culinary competitions and the leadership opportunities, and now that they’ve added an agriculture project, there’s enough to keep them involved in club activities.

Via and her brothers aren’t new to livestock. Their family has raised an assortment of animals for meat, but the goats are different. They’re a chance for these kids to be hands-on with everything from daily chores and animal management practices to sales and production both on and off the farm.

Via loved showing the goats at the Benton County Fair and was proud she was of the ribbons that hung on her goats stall. “I just like being part of the experience at the ADGA shows and the county fair,” she said.

Declan said he chose a larger goat specifically, because he was impressed with the milk production. 

“Did you know that some dairy goats can produce up to 3 gallons of milk per day?” he asked. “That’s why I like Saneens because they’re the ones that can make that much milk.” 

He is focused on learning how to optimize dairy production through his 4-H project experience.

Faelan prefers to stick to bucks, which means he didn’t show at the county fair, but he was happy to pitch in with chores. 

The Powers family might be newcomers to raising dairy goats, but they are busy building skills today that will stick with them.


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