IMG_7122

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 milking 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. Betty and Mable joined a month later and then Tilly.

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. There are 215 kids this year.

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.

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mary from Maryland

Nice interview. You do a great service for all of us. Keep up the good work Farmer John! Just wonder if you get any time off for a little relaxation. Do you have help with all the work?

Reply
Mimi

Thank you. So nice know that a bit more about Farmer John and his passion for his goats.

Reply
kathleen meyer

Enjoyed your interview especially the number of goats and the time it takes to milk all in the morning and in the evening. With feeding the ‘lil critters and your other responsibilities on the farm, do you have any time for yourself? Anyway, keep up that great attitude you have and look forward to an update!

Reply
Karen Brudenell

My husband and I stayed at the American Hotel on May 25. While eating dinner in the wonderful restaurant (delish), who walked and sat at the table next to us. We were too shy to say hi, but thrilled with our celebrity sighting!

Reply
Beverly Potts

Loved the question and answer session. I am wondering what you do with the boy kids? I suppose you need some males to make more kids for the next year.

Reply
Jacquelin Page

Thanks for giving a truly honest and compelling picture of goats, Farmer John! They are indeed fascinating creatures with truly impressive personalities! Kidding season is always exhausting, but the kids are so compelling that their antics cause an abundance of laughter that gives you that kick of extra energy you need in those tough times!

Reply
Dorothy Fill

I really enjoyed finding out more about your goats. I think all animals are beautiful and the goats are really special. Keep up the good work taking care of them.

Reply
Fabienne

Just love Farmer John. Since original tv show!
He gives his heart and hard work to his goats. And Farmer John you are looking good!

Reply
Dr. Brent

Very rarely do the goats go to auction, though this is the fate of some of the male goats. Goat is a part of Greek Orthodox Easter and Ramadan. Most of Farmer John’s kids go to other farms that are starting up or growing their own dairy operations

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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 🙂

Reply
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!

Reply
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 !!

Reply
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

Reply
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

Reply
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

Reply
Andre Jones

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

Reply
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!!!!

Reply
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

Reply
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

Reply
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:)

Reply
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!

Reply
Marie

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

I love Farmer John!!!

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
kelly

Thank you for sharing so much information.

Love the goats and their keeper:)

Reply
Rob

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

Reply
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

Reply
Elaine

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

Reply
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

Reply
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!

Reply
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

Reply
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?

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply