The Balance of Farm and Life

T

he alarm goes off. Annette swings her feet off the bed and places them into her work shoes. She walks into her kitchen and makes a pot of coffee for her husband Mike. Annette calls for her trusted dog, Jackie, and walks down to her barn. She hears a faint cry in the distance and smiles in relief. As the barn door opens, a new kid goat is spotted laying in the hay.

Annette Coursey and her husband, Mike, have hit kidding season. Every morning when she awakes, she comes upon a new member of their herd. 

The Courseys run a dairy goat operation on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas, called Coursey Family Farm. Originally from Millsap, Texas they have ran their operation since 2009.

The couple became interested in raising Nubian goats after they both retired. 

“I was a vice president in a banking situation,” Annette said. “I couldn’t physically deal with the stress anymore, so I needed something that still felt purposeful, but not stressful.”

The Courseys interest in raising dairy goats sparked after viewing a video project over a diary operation made by Annette’s niece. 

Bottle Baby
Annette Coursey bottle feeds a kid goat while her spouse, Mike, milks the mothers.

 “She had done a documentary on a little family farm up in Ohio where they raised dairy goats,” Mike said. “We just kind of looked at each other, and said ‘Hey, we could do that!’”

“We really felt like it was something that God was directing us into.”

Since learning about the dairy goat industry, the couple has faced several challenges as they began their operation. The farm is now home to 10 does and numerous kids. 

“We would anticipate having one to four out of each doe,” Annette said. 

The farm produces raw milk, and Annette also produces her own line of soaps that funds the purchase of feed for the livestock. All of their operations follow health department standards. 

The beginning goal the Courseys strived to achieve was to produce a sustainable farm. They achieve this goal by exchanging products between different farming industries. 

Mike milking
Mike Coursey takes the responsibilty of hand milking all the females. Before they begin milking they clean all the udders to make sure the milk does not get contaminated with any bacteria.

Through the years of following their dream, the Courseys have developed an understanding of how to balance their life and their livestock. Although the well-being of the livestock is No. 1 the couple still strives to have a life outside of the farm. 

“On Sundays, we do our chores, what has to be done, but we don’t do extra stuff,” Annette said. “We take time, go to church and spend time with family, and just rest and watch the Hallmark Channel.”

Annette said they received some advice that was really beneficial from a man who was still involved in his church and had a successful dairy.

 “He said, ‘You have to remember that you own the animals and they don’t own you, you have to have balance,” Annette said. 

 “It’s a big responsibility to make sure that they’re happy and healthy,” Annette said.

The Courseys have created a farm that has incorporated their health and the happiness of the livestock they herd. 

Close up shot of goat
The females​ being milked by Mike Coursey come up to the stand voluntary​ and enjoy alfalfa during the experience.

Mike said that being flexible with their schedules and being aware of what is good for them and the animals has benefited their operation. 

The goats each have a name and come to the milking stand voluntary, which has become Mike’s favorite thing about his small operation. 

“What I really enjoy is we teach them their names early on, but when you call their name, they come in and they just go do whatever like,” Mike said. 

With balance becoming the No. 1 component of Coursey Family Farm, Mike and Annette have found a new hobby and happiness. 

“I still believe we’re where God wants us to be, and so I’m excited to see what our future is,” Annette said. 

Coursey Couple
Mike and Annette Coursey are the owners of Coursey Family Farms. They live in New Deal, Texas where they care for their Nubian​ dairy goats.