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Summaries of Projects Financed by
the NLPA Sheep & Goat Fund


DAIRY PROJECTS

Project #2 -- Sheep Dairy

This loan was established with a sheep dairy in upstate New York to purchase milking equipment. The dairy recently began its first full season of milk production. The main goals of the dairy are to be milking 250 ewes and producing over 75,000 pounds of Grade A milk in 2003. The sheep milk will be bagged and frozen in an on-site, walk-in, blast freezer, and then trucked to the Albany-area cheesemaker. Market lambs are sold locally to New York State consumers.

The domestic market for sheep-milk products is extremely strong, particularly in the Northeast. The dairy, which is operated by an individual with extensive experience as a shepherd and dairy farm worker, has contracted to sell its milk to a New York State cheesemaker. There has been considerable interest in the dairy among (cow) dairy farmers in the region, where many are looking for financially viable alternatives to traditional dairying. The success of this sheep dairy project will serve as a model for those looking for a profitable alternative to the marginally viable dairy farms of the region.

Project #10 -- Goat Dairy

This loan was established to help a goat dairy in north central New Mexico to complete USDA Grade A certification and become a viable cheese-making operation. The facility had been working toward meeting this certification for the past four years, during which it has acquired a Grade A qualifying dairy goat herd, buildings and equipment and built the financial stability to pursue certification.

With the loan from NLPA's Sheep & Goat Fund, the facility will be able to complete all of the certification requirements within a few months and would be ready for the certification inspections.

Upon certification of Grade A status, the dairy will become a viable cheese-making operation, opening the door to a market where demand is high, and local (New Mexico) supply is extremely limited.

Project #12 -- Sheep Cheese Processor

This loan provided funding for an upgrade in milking equipment, cheese processing and handling equipment and road access to the cheese ripening cave, as well as, working capitol to support higher operating costs until financial benefits of the expansion are received and refinancing of current debt at a considerably reduced rate. This cheese company produces and markets a trademarked product, a specialty sheep cheese widely regarded as one of the best cheeses in the country. They have received numerous awards since 1993, most recently, the prestigious "Best of Show" award at the 2000 American Cheese Society's competition in Sonoma, CA and best U.S. Sheep Cheese in the 2001 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. They work with a guild of five farms in Vermont and New Hampshire to produce their award-winning cheeses.

Project #22 -- Goat Dairy Product Expansion

This funding will be used by a LLC formed by a group of Grade A goat dairies in Michigan to purchase an existing facility to accommodate future growth and purchasing and installing equipment needed to allow for expansion of its product lines from high quality cheese and yogurt products to include butter and ice cream. The impact of this project on the goat industry in Michigan is evidenced by the expansion in the number of farms shipping their milk to this facility for processing and the ever-growing demand for the quality based, value-priced goat dairy products. They market through distributors and also market directly to some select stores and chains. Their niche market are health conscious shoppers who are aware that they are choosing to support small-scale farms and upscale gourmet product buyers who choose to buy the best regardless of cost.

Project #27 -- Goat Dairy

Funds are being used by an award-winning goat cheese business in California. After experiencing several years of remarkable growth this company decided to continue their growth and stake out the position of market leader in the fast expanding goat cheese market. This funding will be used to decrease their dependence on foreign curd by letting them establish a dependable, expanded supply of local and regional goat milk and also, by increasing their capacity to make in-house curd. They plan to grow the market for goat cheese and increase their share of the expanding market and in addition raise the general awareness of goats and their products, especially cheese, by establishing an educational goat farm and creamery.

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Project #30 -- Goat Dairy

A goat dairy in Vermont is using funds to expand its existing facility and product line in order to produce ripened goat chees in addition to the fresh goat cheese products currently sold. The project includes construction of a state-of-the-art cheese manufacturing facility, the launc of three new aged goat cheeses and development costs associated with increasing the milk supply and prices to farmers.

Project #33 -- Goat Dairy

A goat dairy in Wisconsin is using the Funds to purchase additional equipment such as a milk pump, a plate cooler, labels, bottles and containers for new products. The company is expanding its dairy production capabilities and is involved with developing chocolate milk and different styles of cheese, kefi, and frozen yogurt.

Project #36 -- Goat Dairy

A goat dairy in California used funds to remodel existing barns to increase feeding space, purchase feeding equipment, construct a barn for feed storage, and to build a shelter structure for livestock. The expansion of facilities allows the dairy to increase production significantly.

Project #38 -- Goat Dairy

A goat dairy in Oregon is used the fund to construct a Grade-A dairy goat milking parlor able to accommodate up to 100 mikers and processing area; the installation and customization of equiment, the reconstructon of an existing well and operating expenses. The company hopes to enhance the goat milk market in its local area, but needs to have a larger facility to provide an adequate supply to the area's needs.

Project #44 -- Sheep Dairy

This loan was established with a family-owned sheep dairy in the Midwest for the purpose of refinancing and enhancing an existing loan. The dairy has been running about 800 head of ewes for the past six to seven years. In order to grow the business and be more efficient, the dairy is trying to alternate the breeding season so they can milk year round.

This dairy has been able to keep back replacement lambs are there are very few dairy sheep in the U.S. and has built its own genetics pool along the way.

The advantage of this facility is that now they are able to build up the genetics and become more selective which in turn makes milking and production more efficient.

 

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