Nicole Sosebee, owner and operator of Edens Lilly Farm and Dairy in Hidalgo County, knows exactly how her passion for goats came about.
It was long before she was born. An ancestor of hers ended up settling in the Sonora area in the early 1800s where he ran a large sheep and goat ranch.
“That’s kind of how I got started,” Sosebee says. “My grandfather still runs the same ranch today. So growing up, I would go there during shearing season and watch the roundups and all that. When I was 3 years old, they brought me my first orphan goat to bottle feed. That started the whole thing.”
Edens Lilly Farm has grown from small beginnings to a full- fledged producer of grass-fed goat milk. Sosebee works alongside her husband, Jacob. The farm has customers in McAllen, Harlingen and Weslaco, among other places.
“We started with a few dairy goats for our own personal use and our family,” Sosebee says. “Then we started getting so many requests, we decided to go ahead and start producing.”
The Sosebees are typical young farmers. They, like many others in Texas, see the benefits of goat production. For one thing, it’s a vocation with relatively small start-up costs.
“We’ve seen a higher interest in goat production, both dairy and meat,” says Mindy Fryer, grants management specialist for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Trade and Business Development Division. “I think the more we see these young farmers showing an interest, the more you’ll see growth in this industry segment. Plus, the costs associated with a dairy goat operation versus a dairy cattle operation seem to be a lot easier.”
Sosebee hopes her two young sons will continue the operation.
“They’re both very, very interested in the animals,” Sosebee says. “They love to bottle feed.”