Goat dairies on the rise in Arizona

Arizona’s mountains are attracting goat dairies, creating a new market of award-winning artisan cheeses.

Since 2003, when the first commercial goat dairy was certified in Arizona, five more have emerged, totaling about 600 goats producing milk and cheese under state regulation.

“Goats are fun,” said Kathryn Heininger, co-owner of Arizona’s first certified goat dairy, Black Mesa Ranch, in Snowflake. “They are like big, productive puppy dogs.”

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Arizona dairy farmers preserve milk

A hundred cows at the Caballero dairy munch alfalfa under the spacious barn while fans and misters keep them cool during a 79-degree spring day.

The cool digs are not just about making cows feel comfortable, especially when temperatures hit 115 or more in the summer, said dairy owner Craig Caballero. New research indicates that ambient temperature affects milk production, and for Arizona farmers that means money.

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Arizonans using less water

When Jimmy Wells of Tucson bought an old house in 2011, upgrading to water-efficient fixtures was his top priority.

He bought a front-loader washing machine, an energy and water efficient appliance. He transformed the backyard into a thriving space with trees and shrubs through desert landscaping. He saved himself money, and he, like millions of other Arizonans, is saving the region water.

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