Faces & Places of the Panhandle: Local Goat Farmers Help World

PANAMA CITY BEACH-- When you think of Panama City Beach beautiful white sandy beaches usually come to mind.

Would it surprise you to know that just off Front Beach Road there's a goat farm that's helping sustain life all around the world?

In this installment of Faces and Places of the Panhandle we introduce you to a local goat farmer who knows every kid by name.

On a three acre farm in Panama City Beach, goats are king of the hill.
"Every single one has a different personality and it's kind of like a dog but it's not, every single one knows its name," said Cristi Karr, local goat farmer.

The curious creatures are very social. And the little ones love to be held.

Cristi Karr's day starts bright and early, and ends very late.

"The farm is a full time job and then I have a full time job that I work 40 hours a week," said Cristi.

Her love for animals and especially her goats has only grown through the years.

"The ones that I have are strictly used for dairy products," said Cristi.

Cristi milks the goats twice a day. Once in the morning and then again in the evening. She uses that milk for several things.

"We drink it, we make cheese from it, we make soap from it," said Cristi.

She takes the soap and many of her goats to a farmers market in the Captain Anderson's parking lot most Saturdays. There she sells the soap.

"Goat milk soap is actually a natural moisturizer and you won't have to use lotion generally," said Cristi.

And she educates people on goats and their benefits.

"The milk is very nutritious and it's good for humans with gastrointestinal issues. It's easier for people to digest than cows milk because it's naturally homoginated," said Cristi.

She also gives hands on milking demonstrations.

Cristi and her husband Ken also have another passion foreign missions.

They're able to combine the two by providing goats to families from Russia to Mexico.

"We've put a whole herd of goats in an orphanage. That's very fulfilling to be able to send animals to places to be able to have them nourish children that wouldn't be able to have milk otherwise," said Cristi.

But she doesn't trust her babies to just anyone, and she always makes sure those who get them know how to care for them.

"A lot of people when they receive an animal overseas they look at it as immediate food source. So they will instantly kill it and use it as a meal because they're just thinking about tomorrow and not thinking about the next few years," said Cristi.

"If we can get the goats out there and teach people the proper care of them they can actually reproduce them and live off the by-product which is the milk. I do it because I love people and animals and I've made a lot of awesome friends along the way.I wouldn't change that for the world," said Cristi.

Cristi says one thing people get wrong about goats is their diet. She says they can't be thrown in a yard and expected to just eat grass. They need minerals and vitamins to keep them healthy.

Parasites are also a big concern, especially in Florida. They can kill off a goat herd really fast.