One Hundred Years Ago
Our history can’t be summed up in just a few paragraphs, it’s much deeper than that. The best way is to start with the farmers before us. Almost 100 years ago my great grandfather, Rankin Beane moved from Montgomery County to upper Moore County, where our farm and home place is located, and began his family. That’s where my grandfather was born and he lived not 300 yards away from his home site. Arthur Beane, was my dad’s father, and he passed away when my father was 12, leaving my Grandmother and 3 other boys behind. Rankin was for all intents and purposes the only goat farmer in the significant area. Of course it was more for sustainability than making money. He would end up with goats that folks didn’t want or he traded them out of it. He would have goats tied out to old junk cars and running loose. Rankin had two other sons my great Uncles, Lacy and Fred, which had cows and goats for as long as I could remember. They would give us an orphan goat or let us buy them at a deal and raise them up so I could make a little money. Uncle Fred, my great uncle and I recently spent some time together talking about his raising and farm. Uncle Fred told how his dad (Rankin) was the only farmer in the area that had goats and he shared the story of their barn. Rankin was one of a few moonshiners in the area; this allowed him to meet and get to know a lot of different people. We all agreed that was probably how he got his barn. Rankin bought an old barracks from Fort Bragg, and had it hauled in, years later Uncle Fred added the side shelters, new tin roof, and cattle corral. Growing up I would spend a lot of time working my uncle’s goats and stacking hay for a little extra money. That old barracks converted into a barn helped start it all so many years ago. It could use a little work, and few parts are sagging and leaning but the old barn is still standing after so many years, just as we will be.My father had goats on and off throughout his life. I became the 4th generation when I was in the 6th grade.
The Humble Start of a Goat Herd
Dad had been without goats for a few years and wanting to get some back and they thought a few goats would be a good way to teach me responsibility. Dad bought 7 goats from a neighbor that was selling out; he didn’t pay more than $25 for any of them. We sold the billy and an old thin doe at the stockyards the following Friday, but that left five, Big Momma, Ginger, Cotton Tail, Black Jet, and Runt. That same Friday we sold the two goats, I purchased my first goat. She had a white body with black head and a few black spots. This was before boers came in and at the time we thought she was Alpine bred, and whether she was or wasn’t the name stuck and all those nickels, dimes, and dollar bills I had saved up got cashed in to buy Alpine. She passed away due to old age complication in the winter of 2005. These six start goats were mainly dairy crossed with what we would call woods goats. We bought a spotted buck that was just an old crossed up goat we named Bubba, we kept him about two years. Then we got our spotted full blooded registered Nubian. We got him from Max Keever in Statesville NC, and we call the goat Gesture and kept him until 2006. Before we sold him we tried raising spotted Nubians, which was fine as long as you got a doe. We took such a beating trying to sell the buck kids off we started looking for a better way. Enter the boer goats.
Beefing Up the Herd
Kay King, Galaxy Ranch, let us borrow a buck and thus we were in the meat goat business. We went through a few bucks all full blooded boer. The one we had the longest was Wolfpack, which Kay King owned but had at NCSU’s educational unit. Dad joked about having a goat and son at college at the same time. We held on to Wolfpack until old age caught up with him also. With the Nubian influence and milk production we had great weight gains and had some great kids. The meat goat industry has served us well and we still aren’t getting away from our bread and butter, but we had to find a way to get a little more for our doe kids. We spent several years buying young bucks in the late summer and fall and raising them until January. This had done well for us and kept us with enough cash to feed the goats until the spring kids were ready to sell.
A Little Color
Trying to increase the value of our doe kids we tried to put color into the herd by purchasing does at the 2011 “Splash of Color Sale”. We purchased a ½ blood boer doe that was black and white with three doe kids, two black and one brown paint along with a ¾ spotted boer doe bred. In June of 2011, Dad and my Uncle Jimmy went to Freedom Farm in Ohio and brought back our first colored buck, Brutus a 300 pound black boer. Labor Day of 2011 the Lazy S & T Ranch in San Angelo, TX, had their dispersal sale in which we bought six spotted does bred to Copperhead and Sir Spots-A-Lot. These does gave us some wonderfully spotted kids the color and confirmation was even better than we hoped. This year at the “Splash of Color Sale” we purchased a full blooded black doe from Freedom Farm and our first Spotted Buck from Hit N Miss farm.
The wife just couldn’t resist taking this picture of us with the online auction. One computer with the video feed the other with the catalog up. It did get a little intense when those spotted does bred to Copperhead and Sir Spotsalot came to the ring.
This beautifully spotted buck was the first spotted boer goat we had born on the farm. This handsome guy started our trend into the more colorful boer goats. We were so proud and excited about his arrival in the spring of 2011.
Blood Sweat Tears and Prayers
Earning your living on a farm or ranch is never easy and we had it no different. Our farm started off as a commercial poultry farm, 3 houses that held about 13,000 chickens each. My parents started raising in 1980 and it was hard, hot, and at times exhausting work. I was born in 1983 a drought year for NC; hot weather was making it hard on my father on the farm. My mother has told myself and my sister so many times that dad would be so exhausted he would be sitting on the bed and she would have to tell him if he was going to work or going to bed. He was so give out he couldn’t remember. He was working 12 to 14 hour shifts at the local bean plant, along with cutting hair on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He cut hair for 3 to 5 hours, along with doing the bulk of the farm work every evening. Throughout dads life he battled knee, elbow, shoulder and several back surgeries and each time good family and neighbors stepped in to help. August 2001, I had torn my ACL in my left knee, dad had about 4 hours of sleep from working third shift and there were 450 square bales of hay to come up. So with a tired father, swollen knee, and a 1971 Chevy Cheyenne long bed farm truck we got up the hay. Like most farmers we have battled disease, droughts, bad economy and trying to make ends meet. Just like any farm family I could go on and on about the individual struggles, but the biggest struggle came in 2001 and 2002. October 2001, was my family’s last flock of chickens, it was more than a third of our family’s income gone. Then just a few months later in January my dad found out the bean company had been sold and he would be losing his job. Along with the burdens of my knee surgery, my college, helping my sister in grad school, we made it by the grace and blessing of God. Truly without Jesus Christ as our savior and all the hope it brings we never would have made it. God took care of us blessed us and we never missed a meal or payment. Things were tight but God was greater. I am not the model Christian, but we didn’t just stick this in for a market strategy we believe it with all our hearts. If we lost it all tomorrow we would still be blessed. Just as God closes one door he sometime opens another and that’s what happened with losing the chicken contract. With no chickens we renovated the houses for goat barns and now run well over 100 goats. It is a long way from our little herd of 6 does that we started with.