YORK, Pa. — Four years ago, Elizabeth Richardson was living at Fort Sam Houston in the middle of San Antonio, Texas. Last Saturday, she sold her first market goat at the York County Junior Livestock Sale at the York Fair.
Richardson, her parents, six brothers and three sisters moved to Pennsylvania after her father got out of the military in 2009 in order to fulfill her mother’s dream of living on a farm.
In addition to goats, they have beef cattle, a milk cow and a menagerie of fowl.
A sophomore at Eastern York High School, Richardson, of York, said she enjoyed raising her 60-pound hybrid dwarf but decided she prefers milk goats, which she started raising shortly after coming north.
“You don’t have to give up the animal,” she said.
The market goat also required slightly different handling than her dairy goats did. She avoided pasturing her market animal to keep it from running around and burning off the weight it had gained. She fed the goat a mix of Backyard Basics and medicated feed, while the rest of the animals on the farm were grazing.
Her younger brother is the market-goat enthusiast of the family, she said.
Richardson got her goat with help from her 4-H leader. The goat, which placed fifth in the lightweight market meat division at the show is not as meaty as some of the other goats because it is a dual purpose dairy-market cross.
Richardson placed seventh in the junior showmanship competition and said she was pleased with how her animal behaved during the loud, busy event. Her training of the goat — “you (the goat) have to walk like this no matter what situation you’re in” — worked.
“For my first time, I thought I did pretty well,” she said
Richardson was not expecting to get involved with goats. When her family began farming, she was hoping her parents would get her a horse. Her parents decided she should get some experience with a lower-maintenance animal first.
While owning a horse is still a possibility — Richardson plans to take riding lessons before buying an animal — she is hooked on goats.
The experience of raising goats has confirmed Richardson’s desire to become a veterinarian. “This makes me feel like, Oh, I might actually be able to do this,’ ” she said.
She said she appreciated taking on the responsibility for a living thing that was dependent on her. “You just get joy from caring for something,” she said.
Though her family is fairly new to farming after moving a lot and living in a city, several of Elizabeth’s siblings have also participated in 4-H. Two are in the program now, and the two younger ones are interested in joining. Elizabeth, the eighth of 10, said three of her older siblings had raised California rabbits back in Texas.
Richardson’s goat, which sold for $546 to Abbottstown Stamping Co. of Hanover and Troubled Acres Farm, York, was one of nearly 170 animals auctioned at the sale.
The grand champion goat belonged to Lindsey Zeigler of Biglerville. She sold it for $1,000 to Cold Spring Farm and Pet of Manchester, and Kevin St. John, a family doctor from York. The reserve champion goat, owned by Spring Grove’s Ben Barshinger, went to Hoss’s Steak and Sea House for $800.
Daniel Rohrbaugh got $4,000 from Saubel’s Market in Stewartstown for his grand champion steer. The reserve champion steer, raised by Clay Myers of Wellsville, went for $2,800 to Cold Spring Farm and Pet, and Hoss’s Steak and Sea House.
Myers also owned the grand champion market lamb. The $1,000 purchase was split between Cold Spring Farm and Pet, Kampel Enterprises of Wellsville, Barrens Valley Farm of Wellsville and Edwin L. Heim Co. of Harrisburg. Morgan Bankert of East Berlin sold her reserve champion market lamb to Apple Automotive Group/Beasley Ford Lincoln of York for $1,200.
The grand champion hog, owned by East Berlin’s Clay Stein, fetched $1,300 from Saubel’s Market. The reserve champion animal drew $1,500 from Cold Spring Farm and Pet, and Fulton Bank Red Lion Branch for Kate Livingston of Dover.