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John Hall is the resident farmer at Beekman 1802 and is responsible for first introducing the goat herd to the farm.  Though he’s busy with breeding season right now, we managed to get him to take a break to answer a few questions for all of you who have been asking.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up right here in Sharon Springs. My family moved here in 1966 when I was two.

Did you grow up with animals?

My family always had farm animals. My parents were dairy farmers for many years, but with cows.

What made you decide to get your first goat and when was that?

One of the places I moved to had a small barn. Their daughter had previously raised so it was all set up and I decided that I would try them too.  So in the late spring of 2000 I got my first goats.

What was the name of your first goat?

Blacky and Sandy were the first. I still have Blacky. Betty and Mable joined a month later and then Tilly, I still have Tilly too.

How many goats are on the farm now?

Currently there are 78 goats in residence. 45 milking age does, 28 yearling does and 5 breeding bucks.

What breeds are the goats?

The breeds of the goats are Alpine, Saanen, Sable and Nubian.

How long does it take you to milk them?

When I was milking all of them it would take about 2 and a half hours in the morning and the same every evening.

How much milk does each goat produce?

The girls average just about a gallon a day. A few of the mature does give almost 2 gallons.

Approximately how many baby goats are born on the farm each year?

Most of the goats will have twins and triplets.  Single birth  are uncommon. I have had quadruplets and one year Sandy had quintuplets.  In 2009 there were 83 kids born.

Having worked with goats for so many years, what is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen a goat do?

I think the craziest thing they do is climb on the round bales as if they are playing King of the Mountain.

Do they really eat ANYTHING or is that just a myth?

Goats like to take a taste of almost anything. They love to nibble on hats, gloves, clothes, fingers and camera wires.  This is how they investigate things.  Actually goats are pretty finicky eaters. They will browse around the pasture looking for the choicest morsels. When it comes to the grain they are pretty fussy too. Sometimes it seems like they are telling me “okay we had this all last week you don’t have anything different”?

What do you think about the fact that after appearing with Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray and in various magazines that the goats at the Beekman Farm are probably the most famous goats in the world?

Well I don’t allow them to watch TV so it hasn’t gone to their heads yet. We’ll see if fame brings fortune or not.

Do you think they like all the attention they get when people come to visit the farm?

Goats are a very social animal.  I bottle feed almost all of them so they are used to human attention; I think the more they get the more they like.

What do you think of Beekman 1802 Blaak, the first artisanal cheese made using the milk of the goats?

I had it first before it had reached its ripeness and liked it. Once it had aged it got its bite and then I really liked it. It’s a good thing I can’t get at it all the time.

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  • By: Simone

    I would love to learn more of how you raise your goats and manage them. We raise Kinder goats. They are a cross between a registered Nubian doe and a registered Pygmy buck. We have a small herd. It is my dream to live self sufficiently. Seeing what you all have accomplished is heart warming. Blessed be.

  • By: Debbie Piper

    I have been trying to find Farmer John’s official Facebook Page since he mentioned something on Sunday that Polka Spot has more friends than he does. Does John Hall has his own page? He is so utterly adorable, down to earth, and really kind-hearted. I love him to pieces.

  • By: GayGourmet

    I just wanted to say to you all, Brent, Josh, John & co., I can’t believe it took me until 2013 to find your show! My husband and I have a goat farm in Rhode Island, on the CT border. We first discovered you from watching Amazing Race. Congrats by the way! Nobody deserved it more than you guys. We want to come visit your farm sometime soon. It seems we have way too much in common. In the meantime, I am enjoying your show. Keep up the fabulous branding. It’s genius.

  • By: Hp

    I was sucked into watching this series on Netflix for 2 reasons – The Beekman Boys really are fabulous & I understand how hard it is to do what they're doing. -Tho mostly for Farmer John's tearful reaction to his herd of goats in the first episode. I too have had "my" herd of goats, wishing I could whisk them away to someplace fabulously safe :)

  • By: Cassie

    Could I have a Polaroid picture of Polkie. I want to frame it! Love you all… You've brought a lot of joy to my life while I am getting well. Thank you!

  • By: lynda wilkie hemond

    Farmer John love you and goats…did you loose one last week kidding? I got my mom to get more cable so she can watch too

    I have 12 Nubians so I really know they give great kisses and love to play with children. Can't wait till March 22 !!

  • By: Sabino

    Farmer John,

    Your goat are the coolest farm animals I've ever seen. They are always sparkling clean, they are well behaved and they have so much love to give……. that I am starting to consider getting a goat for Christmas.

    As an urban, city boy, I would like to ask you what is the difference between straw and hay? Isn't it the same?

    Have a great Holiday Season, and Jason too!

    SABINO

  • By: John A. Istle

    Farmer John, was your dad, Harold, and didn't he buy the farm next to my father's?

  • By: Susan English

    Just ordered Christmas gifts for friends and family. Can't wait for my package to get here. Hello to everyone at the farm and we can't wait for your show to be back.

    Susan English

    Dublin, Ohio

  • By: Catherine S. Pond

    We just sat down over the past two days, in between nibbles, and watched every episode of Beekman Boys. We were delighted, as a family, to see your farm come to life as we start our own cattle farm here in Kentucky (and chickens and pigs and…).

    We were especially moved to see the love and care you have for your animals. Just one question: do you keep all of your goats or do you sell some? If so, do you allow them to be used for meat or milking only? I can't imagine even being able to part with them, especially seeing how attached you are.

    Looking forward to trying some Blaack cheese and soap that I just ordered from 1802 for my husband's Christmas/birthday. He's a dairy farmer from way back himself and we were enchanted with Sharon Springs when we came there around 2001. We will have to come back one day!

    All best to you ~ Catherine Pond

  • By: Andre Jones

    Farmer John, I have sheep and would like to know where you got the hay feeder for your goats?

  • By: Pat Kaiser

    I've been watching the show all weekend; I've read The Bucolic Plague and I'm a total addict!! I cried with Farmer John when his goats were born and I look forward to more tears on future shows… I love this show, I love Josh, Brent, Farmer John, the goats, the llama, the pigs! Thank you for sharing your lives with us!!!!

  • By: Cecile Caple

    As much as I love to see the show with Josh and Brent, Farmer John is my newest Hero. His quiet strength is inspiring (hot) and his lovely personality and humor is unmatched. I haven't laughed so hard in many a moon. Josh is super cool, Brent is brilliant, but Farmer John is the total package of intellect, charm and alarming good looks! Thank you all for making life a bit more enjoyable. Cissy in Texas

  • By: Tracy

    Dearest Farmer John,

    I love the show. You are funny and your facial expressions crack me up. I am ordering some soap for all my family! I hope to see more of you, "the girls", and of course Josh and Brent. "The girls" are so lucky to have you. Hope the hip is better. What are you crocheting now?

    Tracy

  • By: Mary

    Farmer John, what is the best way to contain goats? I see electric fence on the show, is that effective? I would like to get a few goats for our small farm in South Dakota, but my husband believes they will chew plugs off the tractor and create all sorts of mayhem…is he right? I suppose one has to love the goats more than one hates what they do, and I am capable of this, but the husband…not so much. Please advise:)

  • By: Christi

    Farmer John,

    We enjoy the show and watching Brent and Josh, but you melt my heart. The way you care for those animals is heartwarming; keep up the good work. You are a special person.

    I hope your knee is all better as well. I have 2 friends that both had knee surgery this year (one a full replacement and one a partial) so I know from watching them how it takes time to heal. Not a fun thing, but hopefully you are walking more comfortably now.

    Look forward to watching and hearing more about the farm!

  • By: Robert

    Maybe he's a long lost cousin??..kissin' cousins…lol.

  • By: Marie

    I think if they interviewed the goats more, they would be crying over Farmer John!!!

    I love Farmer John!!!

  • By: Larry

    Dear John;

    I hearby vote for you to get your own show.

    You are a funny and compassionate man. Plus my partner and I think you're hot. Good luck in all you do. Can't wait to see you on tv. Hell I live in Breakabeen so hopefully I'll see you live someday.

  • By: Fred

    John,

    God love ya! The goats and lama drama is understandable but the drama from the other two! I am a fan keep up the good work, if only there were more of you that treat herds they way they deserve.

    Fred

  • By: kelly

    Thank you for sharing so much information.

    Love the goats and their keeper:)

  • By: Rob

    Love me some goat butter. Maybe a new product?

  • By: Rob

    Love those goats…john you are adorable…tears for a goat are wonderful…keep it up.

  • By: Kenn

    David and I are thinking good thoughts for you John! We hope you recover quickly!

  • By: Farmer John

    I forgot another of the Swiss breeds, the Toggenberg. If I recall correctly this is the breed Martha Stewart used to have. The color of this breed is almost a chocolate gray with the white stripes along the face. They are also a heavy producer with a lower butterfat.

    If any one has any questions I'd be happy to try and answer them.

    Farmer John

  • By: Elaine

    The goats and Beekman are so very lucky to have Farmer John. How wonderful that we finally got to "meet" him!

  • By: Farmer John

    Hi Nadia,

    They look like a Nubian Alpine cross. I have many of them. Some are my favorites, sweet and love attention. They would be great for cheese making.

    Farmer John

  • By: nadia

    thank you farmer john yes that sounds great i am just getting to know the breeds and now with high butter fat and low, i must learn what will make better for the cheese i hope to make( mostly soft goat cheese) there is two small goat farms down th road where i get my goat cheese from and i love, love her goats i believe they are across breed.

    i took pictures on my visit
    http://laporterouge.blogspot.com/2009/11/goats.ht

    THANK YOU AGAIN!

  • By: Farmer John

    Hi Nadia,

    The best kind for milking is the kind that you have an attraction to. If you are able to visit any farms that have goats then you can always see what breed you like the best.

    For dairy goats the Nubian breed which have the long pendulous ears have the higher butter fat. The Swiss breeds, Saanen, Sable, Alpine and Oberhasli give more milk with a lower butterfat. Then there is the LaMancha, which have elf or gopher ears. Another breed is the Nigerian dwarf, about half the size of a the large dairy breeds would be good if you don't have that much space. They have a very high butterfat content.

    Read as much as you can about them. Storys Guide to Raising Dairy Goats was the first book I read. Then the Dairy Goat Journal is a great magazine.

    Good Luck.

    Farmer John

  • By: nadia

    How fantastic!

    we are planing on getting some in the spring! what breed do you recommend most for milking if we only plan on getting two?

  • By: Kenn

    When visiting, I remember watching the goats follow John around.. there's an obvious attachment to him! They're quite lucky to have such a good guy to watch over them.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Without a doubt, the care that John gives the goats is what makes their milk and the products we make from them the best in the world

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