Ceredigion farming business shows how a focus on sustainability, innovation and a sense of community brings success.
The consolidated talents of an American self-confessed city girl and a Cardiganshire farmer have led to a very healthy business in the heart of the Teifi valley.
The Chuckling Goat launched in 2014 when Texan former radio talk show host Shann Nix-Jones joined Welsh farmer Richard Jones, whose cultural roots are immersed deep in his 25-acre farm, near Brynhoffnant, Llandysul, to produce kefir from goat milk.
The company puts an emphasis on employing family and local people, many of whom join straight from school and who become part of an extended family, all intended to enhance the local economy.
Sustainability lies at the very core of Chuckling Goat; both personally and in a broader sense. Of the 24 staff that work for the company, several are drawn from Richard’s family.
The Chuckling Goat is now a thriving enterprise with customers across the globe. But despite the obvious temptations to move to an industrial unit closer to the transport infrastructure, the couple resisted in order to develop their processing capacity on the original farm.
Sustainability and development in harmony with the land and the environment lie at the heart of the company’s operation. The Joneses are proud of the fact that the building where the kefir is produced is sunk into the ground and surrounded by more than 2,000 trees so that it almost disappears into the landscape.
It is all part of a guiding principle built on family values and development in harmony with the natural order.
As the company - and the profits - grew, so did the logistical scale of the process and the couple had to move its operation out of the kitchen into a specially adapted barn and later into a custom-designed building.
On busy weeks they now process up to 10,000 litres of goat’s milk shipped in each week by tanker.
The family also developed a range of award-winning kefir based skincare products especially effective in treating conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
It is the blend of traditional and cutting edge that allows the Chuckling Goat to thrive and move forward in tune with environmental necessities at its heart.
Now the couple want to expand their findings about gut health and are currently preparing to launch their own Microbiome Test, in cooperation with Cambridge University, which is planned for 2022.
In addition, the couple are also in the process of setting up another innovative enterprise called Ana’s Farmacy, designed to produce medically therapeutic food that is local, sustainable, and gut healthy.
Overall, the ethos here is - It has to be good from the ground up. Good for the microbes in the soil, good plants, good for the animals, people, community, customers and planet.
This is a business that proves that you can do well, by doing good.