In the picturesque landscapes of Rockingham County, a hidden gem named Locust Haven Farm has been flourishing since 1998. What started as a simple endeavor to manage overgrown brush and weeds on the property turned into a thriving goat farm, thanks to the passion and dedication of Lance and Donna Arey.

In 1998 Donna & Lance purchased a few goats, beginning with 7 commercial does. Initially, the kids were sold at the stockyard, but everything changed in 2004 when the Rockingham County Fair opened its doors to goat shows. This marked a turning point for the Arey’s, especially their daughter Corine, who showcased their first homegrown kids. Inspired by the experience, they decided to focus on enhancing their herd.

Seeking improvement, Donna & Lance ventured out west in search of superior genetics, purchasing five ABGA does. The Rockingham County Fair became the catalyst for the farm’s growth and the herd’s enhancement. Corine, bitten by the showing bug, expressed interest in ABGA shows, leading to an expansion from 20-25 does, to around 50 plus. Today, Locust Haven Farm boasts both an ABGA line and a wether line.

Lance, with a background in beef, finds joy in the genetics aspect of raising goats. Pairing goats to enhance qualities in the new crop of kids is a challenge he relishes. Valuable advice from friend John Sponaugle resonates – sell the good-looking ones, keep the “uglier” ones; the genetics matter. Donna, leveraging her animal science background, played a pivotal role in formulating the farm’s feed ration with Jeff Tyson at Rockingham Mill.

The heart of Locust Haven Farm lies in the family’s shared passion. From routine barn chores to preparing for kidding, making breeding decisions, and showing, the Arey’s revel in the togetherness. Vacations are now centered around goat shows. While Lance handles the task of breaking kids to lead, Corine and Shelvin work their magic to keep the goats calm and poised in the show ring. Donna captures these moments, managing the farm’s social media.

Donna & Lance find immense joy in working with the youth, guiding them to maximize their fair projects. Witnessing the elation on the faces of kids succeeding in the show ring is the ultimate reward. Their advice to aspiring goat enthusiasts echoes their own journey – hard work pays off. The Arey’s credit their success to the support provided by their local Rockingham Cooperative in Rockingham County and the unwavering support of family and friends.

Locust Haven Farm stands as a testament to the Arey family’s unwavering commitment, passion, and love for raising goats. From humble beginnings to a flourishing enterprise, their story is an inspiration for anyone looking to embark on the rewarding journey of goat farming. The Arey’s have not only built a successful farm but also a thriving community around their shared love for these remarkable animals.

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