While the number of farmers who give up farming increases every year, the number who keep dairy goats continues to rise. Between 1 April 2000 and 1 April 2001 the number of farmers keeping dairy goats rose from 838 to 865, and the number of goats rose by as much as twenty percent to 116 thousand. In 1993 there were fewer than 35 thousand dairy goats in the Netherlands.
Dairy goats and farms with dairy goats
Growth area within farming
Dairy goats are one of the few areas in farming which is still growing. The three hundred largest goat farms have long outgrown the level of a hobby, with an average 360 dairy goats and an amount of milk comparable with that of an average dairy farm with some fifty cows.
The increasing popularity of goats is largely caused by the growing demand for products made of goat’s milk. This in turn is probably connected with the increase in the number of people allergic to cow’s milk, resulting in more consumers turning to goat’s milk products.
By far most farmers who have switched to dairy goats in the last year live in the provinces Friesland (+16), Gelderland (+16) and Utrecht (+13), although North Brabant still has most dairy goats: nearly forty percent of those in the Netherlands.