backroads goofy goat

In 2008, Diane Bisch wanted “just one” goat. Today, she and her husband, Mark, along with Mark’s sister, Joyce Miller, own and operate the Goofy Goat Farm outside of Madison Lake, Minn. There is more than one goat at the farm.

Mark stated the current herd of 65 is all cross bred, mostly a Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy cross. “I always had a love for them,” Mark commented. He had goats for a couple of years when he was 10 or 12 years old.

When the pandemic began in 2020, they noticed an increase in people stopping to look at the goats. Mark estimates they currently have about 200 visitors a week. Many come locally, but some drive from locations such as Owatonna, Rochester and Sleepy Eye.

The Goofy Goat Farm is open seven days a week during daylight hours, free of cost. Picnic tables and a playset with swings and a slide are outside of the pen. Diane encourages visitors to bring a blanket if they’d like to sit inside the enclosure with the goats.

“People get a lot of enjoyment,” Diane stated.

Mark and Diane have names for all of the goats, although visitors tend to come up with their own monikers. Toddy Casper, a recent visitor with his brother, Georgie, named a few after some of his favorite athletes: Kevin Fiala, Jared Spurgeon, and Justin Jefferson. Of spending time with the goats, Toddy remarked, “I think it’s a lot of fun.”

It’s rewarding for Mark to be able to bring happiness to others. “I want people to come here to be themselves and relax,” he said.

The farm has been a site for many school-related field trips. It’s important to Mark that children learn fundamentals such as where their food comes from. “We gotta get back to basics,” he stated. “They can get a small concept of it here and then take it and run.”

The location is certainly a peaceful environment to listen to the sounds of nature and watch the goats interact. Once food comes into the picture, the goats’ demeanors tend to shift from tranquil to enthusiastic. They like to eat! Mark shared that some of the goats’ favorites are greens, crackers and cereal.

Visitors can bring food for them (no meat, please); or, for a quarter, they can purchase feed from the available machines. Guests can even bring their Christmas trees after the holidays for the goats’ enjoyment. Mark noted they avoid eating anything that would harm them.

In a neighboring pen, there are also donkeys and horses. For safety, visitors must stay out of their enclosure. Mark and Diane plan to have their sheep join the location in the near future.

It’s currently kidding season at the farm. Between April 19 and the first of May, 30-40 does are expected to give birth. There are also plans for a Goat Yoga session to be held on May 13 as part of the 2023 Governor’s Fishing Opener event being held in Mankato. The proceeds will go to a non-profit organization.

The Goofy Goat Farm is located at 23802 610 Avenue, Madison Lake, Minn.

Toddy’s advice: “Bring some salad.”   


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