THE owner of a farm wasn't kidding around when she started advertising her goats for virtual conference calls - a decision that has netted her business £50,000.

Farmer Dot McCarthy, the owner of Cronkshaw Fold Farm in Rossendale, was also able to keep her staff employed during the pandemic thanks to a surprising global demand for her goats to appear on Zoom calls.

Back in May, staff at the Lancashire Telegraph held their morning conference in the company of pregnant goat Lisa, who kept reporters entertained throughout the duration of the call.

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Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Lisa, Simone, Mary, Elizabeth, Bret and Terrance were regular guests in yoga classes at the farm, where willing yogis would exercise surrounded by the four-legged friends.

Undeterred by the coronavirus crisis the goats were willing to keep on working, helping to make the business £50,000.

Speaking to FarmingUK, Ms McCarthy said: "This started as a joke. 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.

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Lancashire Telegraph Staff Video Call with Lisa from Cronkshank Fold Farm 

"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’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."

Located in the Alden Valley, Cronkshaw Fold is a traditional hill family-run farm with a passion for environmentally friendly farming, animal welfare and teaching about the importance of sustainable agriculture.

Lancashire Telegraph: Farm

Since 2019 weddings have been hosted at the farm and there are several facilities onsite - even a tree house - to cater for trips and weekend stays.

Among other projects, staff at the farm are currently working hard to make the facility as carbon efficient as possible, with much of the money raised through activities and events going towards achieving their goal.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cronkshaw Fold Farm