These days, it’s not easy to get by on a little slice of heaven. Farms are consolidating. Median acreages increase year by year. Common assumption is: only the big survive.
Cory McKinney stands in defiance of that. His farm/ranch operation north of Great Falls is small scale farming in every sense of the word—a 30-acre plot that supports mini Herefords, Scottish Highlands, and fainting goats.
“I was sick of working on the road and thought I’d start my own little farm… make a life of it,” McKinney explains.
He and his family moved out to the property in July 2018. They started with Highland cattle, but the breed was too ornery. They broke out of fences and charged at the kids. McKinney wanted Highlands but needed something more docile. Mini Highlands presented him the opportunity to take it down a notch.
“They’re the same size but they have short, stubby legs,” he clarifies. “They’re easier to control.”
Likewise, mini Herefords can be easily contained, have a quieter disposition, and require relatively lower input costs. Fainting goats were added to the mix for similar reasons.
“They’re easy to catch. They’re not aggressive toward people— nice little family goats,” says McKinney.
Some people may be interested in fainting goats for breeding or to raise as a pets, but McKinney makes it clear that he views all his animals as livestock.
“Most of the goats in Montana are milking goats. These are meat goats. The goal wasn’t to start a business; we want to be self-sufficient,” McKinney explains. He chuckles and adds, “The kids asked for a horse. I told them I don’t eat horse.”
McKinney hopes to sell just enough of his livestock to keep the “McKinney Funny Farm” sustainable. Putting food on the table the old fashioned way is more gratifying than spending a paycheck from a nine-to-five.
“As long as I can buy hay to keep going, I’m happy,” he says.
For more information, call (406) 590-5114.