Hello all! After a summer of giving away lots of delicious chevre and cajeta (goat milk caramel that is from heaven) I am dreaming of saving for a small dairy operation I can get certified by the state. I don't think there is any business that requires such a huge commitment up front as cheesemaking/dairy, so while I found so much information online about how to get going with my 6 goats for farm and friend use, I can find almost nothing about next steps. I sent for all the State of Maine information and read it. The dairy inspector will come once I have a more specific plan and some questions, so now I am searching for these things: Are there any profitability studies for a Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Operation? I want to work it just with my family and am a teacher, so I have some flexible time. Have any of you experimented with the perfect number of goats a family operation can handle where it becomes at least a break even proposition? (I feel like I read 20 somewhere) I am thinking a small shop for local friends, sales at school and seasonal farmers markets.
The other think I'm looking for is plans/blueprints for the smallest possible legal milking parlor and cheese kitchen. I have a space for it, but would love to see some plans for designs that have worked for people. I know so many of these questions can only be answered with it depends...but I am looking for some experienced suggestions to help guide my dreaming. Thanks for any input you have!