People had to get creative at making money while the pandemic shut down a lot of operations. This farm hit the jackpot.
When the pandemic started in 2020, the world was not ready for it. Apart from dealing with the medical uncertainties and loss of loved ones, millions also struggled to make ends meet due to job losses and pay cuts. But we humans are an innovative bunch.
One little farm came up with a brilliant idea that not just won hearts but brownie points for its ingenuity. Dot McCarthy, a farmer from Rossendale in Lancashire who runs the Cronkshaw Fold Farm, joked about hiring out her goats for Zoom meetings during the lockdown, but she had no clue that this unique idea would go on to fetch her a whopping £50,000 ($60k+), according to the BBC.
Speaking to Farming UK, Dot explained how they'd had to go online in order to keep the income flowing. “We started virtual activity videos with our local community,” said Dot. One activity involved communicating through mirrors and flashes of sunlight to spell out letters of the alphabet. “We taught local kids to mirror signal the word PIES—we love pies in Lancashire—and as we’re up on a hill overlooking the valley, we were able to watch all their mirror signals from people’s houses. These sessions were super popular locally and got picked up by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, who posted about them on her Instagram.”
Just as a gag, Dot then suggested charging £5 ($6) to book a goat to join a Zoom call. “This started as a joke,” she said. “I came up with the idea, told my employee Emma and we agreed it was completely wacky and we should prioritise other money-making ideas. I put it on the website that evening anyway along with Emma’s email address for bookings. When I woke up, I had loads of missed calls from Emma saying she’d been inundated with emails and couldn’t keep up with the demand for goat calls.”
We are absolutely loving sharing our goats with people all over the world - hysterical laughter is the same in every language "WHY IS THERE A GOAT?!" 😂🤣 Simone here has already been to India, Australia and France this morning 🇮🇳🇦🇺🇫🇷🇫🇷😆 pic.twitter.com/ZwTiXx4Mls— Cronkshaw Fold Farm (@CronkshawFold) May 23, 2020
She said that the number of people paying for "show goat" Lola and others to butt in on calls had been "insane," according to BBC. This unusual development meant that her Cronkshaw Fold Farm would remain open, allowing staff to retain their jobs as well as help her pay for converting the farm to renewable power to improve its carbon footprint. She added that it was "more fun" than selling manure to make ends meet.
“We’ve had everyone from the European management team of Facebook, to NHS staff in need of a cheer up, to virtual church services—the vicars always seem to choose Mary the goat and I am pleased to say we have made over 50k so far,” she said to Farming UK. "We've got one family who books the same goat every week," she recalled, according to Euro News. "She's like a member of the family now and they know everything about her and invite her every week to their family call." With their popularity boosting, Dot's goats have now appeared in virtual meetings all over the world, including in the US, Russia, China, and Australia, with some people donating far more than the £5 charge for an appearance.
Cuthbert here didn't see the time until it was too late... He's sent you an email to apologise and ask if you'd like to reschedule. He hopes he's still on your bucket list 🐐 pic.twitter.com/zr89rsWnes— Cronkshaw Fold Farm (@CronkshawFold) August 15, 2020
"For the bargain price of £5 (all currencies and countries accepted), you can choose one of our goats to join you for 5 minutes of your video meeting. All proceeds go towards bulk buying loo roll. The goats are savvy in Zoom, Microsoft teams, Webex, BlueJeans, Skype, Google Hangouts, Jitsi, Go To Meeting and Ring Central," the website reads.
With the current state of affairs, we'd say that we can all use a good dose of goat love!