Dakota Goat Association gathers

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BISMARCK, N.D. - You're never truly alone. If there's something you're interested in, someone else probably is, too. Some goat owners in North Dakota discovered that and decided to band together.

LeAnn Harner bought her first goats in 2010, and says they're fun, captivating creatures who are smaller, easier to handle, and easier to transport than other animals. And each of her mares produce nearly a gallon of milk a day.

"People say, well, goat milk is goaty. Well, yes, it can be if it's not handled properly, and if the animal is not fed properly. Just like any other dairy animal, what you put in it is what you get out," said Harner.

She can make money by selling the kids each year, and by selling shares in a goat's milk.

The number of goat producers is on the rise, prompting the recent formation of the Dakota Goat Association, and this very first conference, where people are learning the ins and outs of ownership, feeding and reproduction.

Amanda Long, with NDSU Extension Service, said: "When I got into goats, I had no idea what I was doing. There wasn't a, I didn't really have a network of people. Like, my parents were not farmers. I got into this myself.

But now, even beginners can understand what they're getting into, thanks to the experiences of others.

While most goat owners may get into to business for milk, others do it for meat.

The USDA says there are about 25,000 goats in North Dakota.