Goat raising, gardening, and hobby farming all sound interesting, but trying to separate hearsay and legitimate advice can be confusing. Fortunately, there are many professional and community organizations happy to provide more information on these topics. Some are national organizations, but many are community-driven. There may even be one such organization in your hometown.

To get you started, we've put together a list of some of the most comprehensive resources and associations.

Goat Raising and Breeding

  • American LaMancha Club: Dedicated to one of the most popular breeds of dairy goat, the ALC has adult and youth programs to help people learn more about LaMancha goats.
  • American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association: Miniature goats are especially popular as backyard goats, thanks to their reduced size and housing requirements. The ANDDA strives to increase awareness and support for the Nigerian Dwarf goat.
  • American Dairy Goat Association: Founded in 1904, the ADGA has extensive records on the breeding history and pedigrees of dairy goats across the country. They also provide resources for breeders and farmers.
  • Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association: The CAGBA is the only member association for colored Angora goats. This association promotes the colored Angora goat as an ideal candidate for small farms.
  • Florida Dairy Goat Association: This statewide club hosts shows and conferences for raisers and breeders of dairy goats. The website also has a list of informational resources on treating illnesses in goats.
  • Sheep and Goat Production: Overview of Farming: Goats are a popular choice for many new farmers. This quick overview provides a snapshot of what raising goats will be like.
  • Raising Dairy Goat Kids (PDF): Raising a goat from birth can be rewarding, but it’s important to know how to treat them. This article details a kid’s nutritional requirements, the disbudding process, and how to identify them.
  • Your Dairy Goat (PDF): This comprehensive goat guide covers all aspects of raising dairy goats, from selecting a breed to housing, feeding, parasite control, and showmanship.

Gardening

  • American Community Gardening Association: The ACGA encourages community gardening throughout the United States and Canada. They provide gardeners with resources and programs and have an interactive map of community gardens.
  • American Horticultural Society: Since 1922, the AHS has been educating the public about gardening and the responsibility of caring for the earth. They provide information to new and experienced gardeners alike.
  • Botanical Society of America: One of the BSA’s main goals is to improve the quality of plant-related education and research. Through their online mentoring program and resources, their focus is on students, but the information is valuable to anyone interested in gardening.
  • The Fertilizer Institute: What you put into the soil is just as important as what you grow from it. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) focuses on a responsible, sustainable way to produce healthier fertilizer.
  • Hobby Greenhouse Association: The HGA promotes indoor gardening, whether in a greenhouse or in one’s own home. Their website has a free guide to planning the construction of a greenhouse.
  • Home Orchard Society: The HOS is a society dedicated to the encouragement of home orchards. They host educational events and provide resources for orchard enthusiasts of all ages.
  • National Garden Bureau: The NGB seeks to raise awareness of the many benefits of home and community gardening. Their website is ripe with resources, articles, and educational facts about gardening.
  • Seed Savers Exchange: This nonprofit works to preserve America’s seed heritage by collecting, storing, and saving seeds. They have a Seed Exchange where members can trade and share seeds, and their Garden Planner is perfect for new gardeners.
  • The Food Project’s DIY Raised Bed Building Manual (PDF): A garden doesn’t have to be a permanent structure. This manual covers how to build a temporary or permanent bed for your garden, a checklist to review before purchasing materials, and the best soil for your plants.

Hobby Farming

  • Hobby Farmers Association of the CSRA: This nonprofit organization is based in the Central Savannah River Area of South Carolina and works to educate the public about local farming and self-sustainability.
  • Resource Guide for Vermont’s New and Aspiring Farmers (PDF): Hobby farming can be expensive. Guides like this one will walk you through everything that needs to be considered before you start putting a farm together.
  • American Farm Bureau Federation: Organized and run by fellow farmers, the AFBF works to strengthen agricultural presences within communities. They also lobby for the rights of small farmers.
  • National Young Farmers Coalition: Farming can be a great way to develop responsibility and work ethic while also helping to support a family. The NYFC works to bring farming to young people and has chapters all around the country.
  • Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota: Farming should be sustainable as well as supportive for individuals and families. The SFA-MN dedicates its time to promoting awareness of sustainable farming methods and mentoring new farmers.
  • Ohio Farm Bureau: Bountiful Backyard Farms: This organization provides support for the farming community of Ohio. As shown in this article, the support doesn’t stop at commercial farms.