Designing a Mobile Milking Parlor for a Multi-site Educational Goat Farm

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $8,650.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Dreamgoats
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:

Information Products


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism, feasibility study, land access, new enterprise development
  • Sustainable Communities: community services, new business opportunities, partnerships, urban agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Dreamgoats is a multisite, school-based regenerative dairy farm operating two herds of five total Nubian goats in Ada, Michigan. Because our goats graze on disparate parcels of land, and we hope to expand to more school sites, we are interested in designing a mobile milking parlor to service our multiple herds.

    This grant will focus on designing and engineering the first certified mobile milking parlor in Michigan. Our design will focus on small ruminants. We will educate local producers about our parlor design through our website, newsletter, and social media channels. We will present at a live workshop in Ada, MI and at the Northern MI Small Farms Conference in January 2019; a video about the project will shared with North Central producers unable to attend.

    There are many challenges associated with this project, including financial feasibility, water supply, biosecurity, and sanitation. There are also many opportunities, including grazing dairy animals on leased or free land, farmers’ crop residues, cover crops, or educational sites, as well as adding milking to fiber, meat, or land-clearing operations. We will plan to collect and document all costs and opportunities with the goal of presenting an environmentally and financially sustainable model for small-scale dairies.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Design Mobile Milkhouse Parlor for maximum efficiency and education benefits
    2. Engineer to be compliant with Michigan Dairy Laws
    3. Source and price materials, determine financial feasibility and environmental costs/opportunities
    4. Share findings with small ruminant farmers via social media, an educational event in Ada, MI and to others at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.