Jane Conway of Circle Bar C Dairy Goats, Stuart
Jane Conway is talking to me from State Road 714 in Martin County, where there’s a huge traffic jam caused by renegade cows wandering off the pasture.
She is on her way to the Fort Pierce Brown Family Farm Stand, where she sells goat’s milk, kefir, goat cheeses and meat, eggs, and goat’s milk soap on Mondays. On Sunday mornings, she goes to the Palm Beach Gardens Market, and her husband goes to the Stuart Farmers Market.
Conway put herself through college, earning a degree in animal science and nutrition. But after graduating, she went into accounting and finance to earn money, traveling all over the United States and quickly rising up the corporate ladder.
In 1993, when she and her husband, Jim, decided to have children, she quit working. He stayed in sales and marketing, where he still works, while she became the mother of four. They moved to Florida in 2000 and bought land in Indiantown in 2003.
During that time, she home-schooled their children and even had a 4H group whose members raised rabbits, chickens, dairy goats, and hogs. By 2007, their kids all had left to go to college (her daughter went to veterinary school). Because Jane liked making cheese, she decided to keep the goats and start a raw goat dairy farm as a retirement job.
While it’s not everybody’s idea of retirement, Circle Bar C Dairy Goats suits her to a “T” – with its 28 acres and 73 goats made up of three types: Nubians, of Anglo-European extraction; La Manchas, originally from Spain; and Saanens, which originated in Switzerland.
The dairy goats frolic in the pastures in the daytime and get milked twice a day, using a small machine that does four at a time. Baby goats are bottle-fed goat milk and weaned at 3 months. Then they eat hay and a small amount of grain that Conway hand-mixes for them.
Conway is happy, loving the animals and the rural lifestyle. But she also likes the challenges of the farm, and using her animal science background to meet them.