Head Butting Away the Myths

Ashley Siferd - Featured Goat Gal

Goats are not exactly like the ones you read about in children’s books. Unlike those stories in books, goats won’t eat everything in sight; In fact, they are very picky eaters – refusing to eat certain foods if it hits the ground. Goats are extremely intelligent animals, not continuously getting into mischief and head-butting people, as most would say. Ashley Siferd experienced all of the positive energy and learning opportunities goats have to offer alongside her brother when she was very young.

Siferd joined 4-H and quickly started showing goats in open class shows, the Ohio State Fair, and the National Dairy Goat Show. Being the sixth generation to be raised on her family farm, Siferd and her brother had some big shoes to fill.

Farm Tour Leads to SAE

Starting her freshman year, she joined the FFA, and quickly started her search for her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). An SAE is a required educational program alongside two other components: FFA and classroom instruction. Through this program, students are able to explore different careers and occupations within the Ag industry. Only a short year into Siferd’s search, her family farm was selected for a county wide farm tour, to be the featured goat farm of the tour. Among many other activities, the family had to show the farm visitors the different uses for goat’s milk.

For innovation and creativity sake, the family created handmade goat milk ice cream and goat’s milk soap. To complete the SAE portion of Siferd’s educational program, she was required to create and implement her own business opportunity. Thus, Siferd’s very own business began in 2008, Old Homestead Soaps and Lotions.

SAE Becomes National Recognition

After the kickoff of Old Homestead Soaps and Lotions, Siferd started to sell her handmade products to local farmer’s markets. Her entrepreneur efforts led into many recognitions spanning from local, state and national levels. Applying for the FFA Agri-Entrepreneur Award, Siferd brought home first place at the state level, automatically sending her application on the national level. On top of her state award, her application was one of only ten FFA members to be chosen to win the National FFA Agri-Entrepreneur Award – also being the only female applicant to win.

Where is She Now?

“What I love about goats would have to be their personalities. Each goat is very different than the other. Some are quiet and gentle and others are standing at the fence demanding attention,” Siferd said.

Her favorite breed of goat is the Oberhasli breed. These are fairly quiet and gentle goats, opposite of the Nubian breed. Siferd now has 30 goats on her farm while consistently breeding them once a year. Her farm consists of Oberhasli, Alpine and Nubian goat breeds, each type winning at local and state level shows. When pressed with more goats than Siferd believes she needs, she sells her extra goats kids to other 4-H enthusiasts looking for a goat to take to the fair.

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