Michelle Liga is a West Virginian technology integrations specialist who started using EasyKeeper in 2013 to keep records for her Oberhasli dairy goats.
Michelle Liga, owner of Slice of Almost Heaven, began raising dairy goats after she was struck with the desire to start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. She bought her first goat to provide her home with fresh and tasty goat milk. She began with a two mixed breed does, but her first foray into farm-fresh milk wasn’t quite what she had expected.
“This may sound mean, but we started with what I'd call a mutt goat–a mix of a couple different breeds, and the milk was terrible,” Michelle said as she reflected on her early experiences with goat milk. “Some people suggested I look into Oberhasli because they produce sweeter milk. I did my research on the other breeds and ended up with Oberhasli. They do produce a very sweet milk, almost like vitamin D milk from the store.
Michelle’s herd has expanded over the years, and now she runs a modest diary of 18 goats–all Oberhasli, of course. She is one of five Oberhasli breeders in West Virginia, and her favorite Oberhasli quality is their quirky personality.
As Michelle and other Oberhasli owners put it, “They must be some kind of mutant goat, because they’re more like dogs than goats.”
Even though she loves operating her dairy, sometimes she can get a little overwhelmed by the work it takes, but being out among her animals reminds her why it’s all worth it.
“I have what I call goat therapy time. It’s like watching a fish tank. I go out and sit with the goats and it’s so relaxing that it makes up for the times the weather’s not great or I can’t do the things I want to do because I have a higher responsibility to take care of my girls."
After having her first taste, Michelle says she could never go back to store bought milk. She wanted to share her love for Oberhasli milk with others, but found it was illegal to sell goat milk products off-farm in West Virginia. So she banded together with other dairies in the area to propose the state pass a bill allowing farms to use herdshare agreements. She was responsible for running the website for the organization, and while she couldn’t lobby at the state, she worked in her local area to raise support for the bill.
Her hard work was rewarded in early 2016 when the herdshare bill was passed. While it was a great step forward, as of April 2017 there are still some holdups that are keeping farmers from instituting herdshare agreements on their farms. The rules guiding the law have not been clearly defined, so Michelle and her fellow farmers are waiting patiently for more guidance before fully taking advantage of the new law.
Michelle uses EasyKeeper primarily for tracking the health and breeding of her goats and believes that technology has the ability to help large and small herds by streamlining their processes and reminding herd managers of important tasks around the farm.
"For some things, pencil and paper is best," Michelle said. "But in the case of keeping track of everything that I need to do for the goats, it's just so much easier using EasyKeeper."
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