Questions for those that "small scale" dairy

Discussion in 'Dairy' started by Koda, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Koda

    Koda Well-Known Member

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    I know this will differ from person to person and some of you will be using plastic and others will be using glass jars. How much do you personally spend on bottling a gallon of milk?

    For those of you that have liability insurance, how much does that average per year?

    I can't say I'm all that interested in it at a commercial level, I also don't feel like it would be viable to make any sort of living at a very small scale. So what are your experiences selling direct to consumer? I'm thinking more herd-share style.

    I would prefer to hear from those with cows, but I am happy to hear from goat owners as well.

    Do you personally find it worth it? Or a glorified hobby?
     
  2. Gretchen Ann

    Gretchen Ann Well-Known Member

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    We sell raw Guernsey milk to some people. We have a sign on the refrigerator that states this is Raw Milk, Not for Human Consumption. For Pet Use only.

    I make it clear to people that my husband and I do drink this milk but if they decide to purchase it, they are assuming any and all risk in drinking it.

    We also make the customers responsible for their own containers. They need to wash and keep them clean. And they do too.

    They have a designated pick up day. When they pick up, they leave a container(s) for the next week.

    We are understanding if they come a day late, but we do have a problem with 1 lady who constantly doesn't show for several days after her pick up day. We made her change to a different day because of problems with overcrowding in the refrigerator since she didn't come when she was supposed to.

    We did have a customer who said they like their milk slightly tangy. She let it set out overnight on the countertop. We quit selling to her.

    We do NOT have a cow share program.

    We still ship milk to our milk coop. If we were younger, we might try to get a big home business going. We make more selling raw milk than we do by selling to the milk coop.

    Each customer needs to sign a book saying how many gallons they bought and how money they left. I total this at the end of the year and we do pay state and federal income tax on this income.

    Hope information helps you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
    farmerdan likes this.

  3. DisasterCupcake

    DisasterCupcake Crazy Goat Lady

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    Depending on your State laws, it might be illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption; but herd shares are legal in almost every State. To sell milk, most States require that you be a Licensed Dairy. http://www.realmilk.com/herdshares/cowshares-vs-licensed-dairies/

    It can be a good business model. Most herd share operations make the customers responsible for their own containers- ours even makes us bottle our own milk ;) All the dairy does is milk the cows. You can sell glass milk bottles to your customers, which is probably the best way to do it.

    Good luck. I'm in the process of setting up a microdairy here as well. It will be mostly goats but also one or two cows as well. For a small farm it can offset cost of operation dramatically.
     
  4. Vernitta

    Vernitta Well-Known Member

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    Just curious. Why did you stop selling to the woman that liked her milk tangy?
     
  5. Koda

    Koda Well-Known Member

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    @Vernitta I would assume she stopped selling to the woman because some people worry about being sued. So if this woman is blatantly leaving her milk out to age and get the "tang" she likes, then gets sick for any reason at all, she might go blaming the milk and/or the milker. Even with liability insurance or having people sign things that say you aren't liable, doesn't mean there aren't some who won't still try to sue.
     
  6. Koda

    Koda Well-Known Member

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    Of course I am assuming.
     
  7. Koda

    Koda Well-Known Member

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    @Gretchen Ann When you sell to the milk co-op, are the prices you get comparable to the commercial price per hundredweight? I was just wondering how similar or different selling to a co-op is to selling commercially. How do you like working with guernseys? I've heard a lot of good things about them. Do you have them because of the whole A2/A2 milk thing? Is that part of your marketing angle or do you just offer it as regular raw milk? Was there a certain amount of cows you hit where there was a real difference in cost versus profit?
     
  8. jbelokur

    jbelokur New Member

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    By selling it as "not for humans" exempt you from needing a permit?
     
  9. SuzyQue

    SuzyQue New Member

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    Interesting, so does that mean that you can't sell raw milk for human consumption in Indiana? You can't in Iowa, but I give it to friends and family.
     
  10. hiddensprings

    hiddensprings Well-Known Member

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    I had both dairy cows and dairy goats. I sold on a herd-share program that was legal in the state I was living in at the time. Customer provided their own glass containers (I sold them for those that preferred to not to have to bother getting them), I also allowed folks to pay me extra if they wanted cheese and/or yogurt.(again legal in my state at the time if they were part of the herd share program). All in all, I enjoyed it BUT man customers can be a pain in the tushy. Each customer had a scheduled pick up day each week while allowed me to have time and plan if I needed to make goat cheese or yogurt...they ALL would change their minds: "sorry can't make it on Tuesday so I'll swing by after work"...or "oh I'm sorry, I forgot to bring my jars"...Of better yet, "we're going on vacation so can we just get double next week"..yeah NO...the "girls" (my goats and cows) can't hang on to YOUR milk while you're gone. After 2 years of doing the herd share, I quit. I, instead, raised bottle calves and sold them at weaning. Far more profitable and way less headaches. Not trying to discourage you, but by far the customers are more trouble them milking a crazy cow. :cool:
     
  11. Gretchen Ann

    Gretchen Ann Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I just figured out you responded to my post way back in 2016!

    We receive more per gallon when we sell directly to milk customers. We are a small dairy and milk around 35 cows. We milk Guernseys because that is what my FIL started his herd with way back in the l930's. My husband loves the Guernsey breed. We did milk a few Jerseys years ago for a guy who owned several head but he sold them and we are purely 100% Guernseys.

    The customers who buy our milk directly are interested in the A2A2 aspect but the dairy we sell to isn't at all concerned about A2A2. We wish we could find a commercial A2A2 market for our milk but I doubt that will ever happen.