Poplar Hill dairy goat farm marks 37th year at county fair

At Poplar Hill, Vincent and Christine Maefsky’s goat farm on Mayberry Trail in Scandia, preparations were underway recently for the Washington County Fair.

It was by no means the first time.

Sarah Johnson, daughter of the Maefskys, said the family has shown goats at the county fair since 1975, the first year for open class goat competition at the fair. Since then, Maefsky goats have been at the fair every year. “We are the only family that has participated in every open class goat show at the fair since its beginnings,” she said.

In 1973 the first 4-H dairy goat show was held at the fair. “My mother was the judge of the first 4-H goat show at the Washington County Fair. There were only two 4-H families involved with goats at that time,” Sarah said.

Sarah and her three brothers were active in 4-H.  They belonged to the Marine Mariners, a club that no longer exists. Now two of her daughters belong to the Town of May 4-H club, which meets at the Scandia Community Center.

Granddaughter Ashley Johnson milks the goats on the Maefsky’s dairy goat farm, Poplar Hill.

Eldest daughter Ashley has exhibited projects for four years. This year Ashley showed goats and rabbits, and also competed in the talent show.

Second daughter Alison is in Clover Buds, the 4-H program for kindergarten through grade 2. The youngest Johnson daughter, Ava, is not old enough to be in 4-H. But all three girls help with milking, watering, feeding and other daily chores at their grandparents’ farm.

Through the 4-H leasing program, kids who don’t live on a farm can also show animals. Jaime Odberg leases a goat and rabbit at Poplar Hill. Jaime comes to the farm to learn to show her goat and help do chores.

Poplar Hill goat milk from the Maefsky’s Grade A Goat Dairy is sold in stores throughout Minnesota and the surrounding states. The Maefskys also sell goat cheese and goat milk soap. They sell goats as breeding stock and pets. Over the years their breeding quality animals have been sold throughout the United States and exported to 14 different countries.