Could a goat farm be a model for small-town Saskatchewan?

There were more goats than people living in Jedburgh, Sask., when The National visited four decades ago.

In 1980, The National visited a goat farm in Jedburgh, Sask., to see how a 'cottage industry' worked

The National visits Jedburgh, Sask., a hamlet with a human population of 47, as of September 1980. 2:14

There were more goats than people living in Jedburgh, Sask., when The National visited four decades ago.

Yet one man running a goat farm there believed the hamlet could be an example of how to keep people from moving to the city from other places like it in Saskatchewan.

Buff Parry and two partners had started the business, which saw them selling goat milk, meat and cheese, in the town located about 200 kilometres northwest of Regina.

"It's probably the only kind of industry that could go into Jedburgh — not necessarily a cheese factory, but an industry on that scale," Parry told The National, in an interview that aired on Sept. 5, 1980.

"Larger cities wouldn't necessarily accommodate something quite that size, but a small village like Jedburgh couldn't accommodate anything much larger."

Buff Parry and his business partners were selling goat milk, meat and cheese from their farm in Jedburgh, Sask. (The National/CBC Archives)

The National's Eve Savory then reported that the business had produced four permanent jobs and three seasonal jobs.

That meant a lot in a town of just 47 people — a town that had once been what Savory described as "a thriving farm community."

Parry believed cottage industries like the one he was involved in could be the key to keeping small towns, like Jedburgh, in existence.

"If people generally believe that, you know, that they're just folding up and that's that, going to larger farms — why would anybody want to live out in the country?" said Parry, who had actually done research for a provincial government study on cottage industries before launching his own business.

"But I think, you know, after you've lived in the city for a while, you know why you might want to live in the country."

Buff Parry was bullish on the impact cottage industries could have on small communities in Saskatchewan. (The National/CBC Archives)

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now