Selling milk

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Mark T, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Mark T

    Mark T Well-Known Member

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    My Ayrshire heifer will freshen in June. Several families in my daughter's play group have expressed interest in buying milk. Many of them are currently paying $6/gallon for organic milk.

    Of course, selling milk from the farm is illegal in Virginia. You have to have a processing facility that meets certain requirements.

    A farm near me gets around this by selling "shares" in their cows. The legal reasoning is that the customers are simply collecting milk from their personal cows andpaying the farmer a "maintenance" fee. I don't think this has been tested yet in court. Plus, I would be concerned aboutl liability when selling raw milk.

    If it would be possible to meet state requirements, I would think a small dairy would be a good source of income for a homesteader - 4 gallons sold per day at $6 per gallon over a 300 day lactation would be $7200. Since no one seems to be doing this, the start upcosts of a legal processing facility must be phenomenal. Does anyone know how to find out what the state regulations are? I have had no luck googling "class a dairy requirements." Anyone have any suggestions for figuring this out?

    Mark
     
  2. Danny

    Danny Active Member

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    I'm sure not an expert but seems I have read where you can sell milk for animal use to your neighbors. What they do with it would be their business. Might be worth checking in to.
     

  3. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where you are located and the agecny might go under a different name. We used to milk and sold Grade A milk, so our permit (and accompanying inspectors) came through our state board of animal health. Perhaps you could just get some general information, and, I don't think I'd tell them everything!

    Also, (that popping sound is me opening a can of worms here) while we had cows we pasteurized what we drank at the house. We used a home pasteurizer. Part of the impetus was, DH's sister as a baby got meningitis and almost died. Teh doctor recommended pasteurizing the milk as a precaution. DH felt the new pasteurizer we got preserved teh flavor of the milk better that the one his mom used. I couldn't tell a difference between raw and pasteurized. (I know pasteurizing is not politically correct, but two credible people, doctor and vet, recommended it to us.)

    We talked it over with the vet who had his own Jersey cow. We delivered hay at chore time and saw his milking routine, it looked almost aseptic :haha: and talked to him about it. He said in a herd situation he would pasteurize.

    He used a milking machine -- one of those one-animal bucket type ones you see at cattle shows

    Good luck with your cow! We kind of miss ours. We have one half-Holstein half-Angus heifer to freshen next spring, and she is so good natured I want to try and make a family cow out of her.

    ann
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I know people who sell milk for pet food only. They will not answer questions regarding human use of the milk, nor discuss it in any way. I agree that the liability is huge...I wouldn't do it.

    $7200 is not much money when you consider the cost of maintaining the cow and all the start up costs to be approved.

    Jena
     
  5. stormwalker

    stormwalker Well-Known Member

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    Will you test for T.B., Johne's, etc.? While I have had many a glass of raw milk of both cow and goat persuasion, I would never volunteer to feed a child raw milk.
    A fairly new question on Johne's is whether it's implicated in Crohn's disease.
     
  6. Ken in Minn

    Ken in Minn Well-Known Member

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    Hi All
    I would sure like to see more posting on this subject. We baby boomers grew up on fresh, raw milk. has any thing change to now make it bad? I am 63 yr old, go to get my phyisical every yr. and the Doc's can't find any thing wrong with me, and I think it buggs the devil out of them.

    Ken in Minn
     
  7. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was raised on raw milk after being weaned. Still drink raw milk...and actually have drunk raw milk from Johne's positive cows. We had four come up positive and our house milk comes straight from the bulk tank...so they were putting milk in the tank and we were consuming it. Johne's is a horrid disease for a cow to die from. Fanfare died from it because we couldn't get the slaughter order in time. We had the heifer calf she had when she was positive slaughtered at less than a year of age. I have trouble with the idea of Johne's causing Crohn's. It is a ruminant digestive problem. We only have one stomach...But if deer can pass digestive disease's to humans I suppose cows could as well. Just keep in mind, few people would williningly put milk from a Johne's positive cow into a tank. The cows taht come back positive are generally shipped pretty quick for slaughter. :waa:
    My kids will be raised on raw milk when I have them. If you have a good clean source I can't think of what harm it could do. It could help them if anything.
    My family was raised on raw Jersey milk...Jerseys have been in my family for generations.
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I have mentioned before on the forum that I sell raw milk from my Jerseys at $2.50 a gallon. Selling just 8 gallons a week pays for the grain for all 12 head of cattle we are currently feeding. Most of the families seem to want at least 6 gallons a week, so it doesn't take to many folks to consume all of the milk from 1 Jersey.

    If all goes well, we have another Jersey due to freshen on January 4th. That will certainly help on the milk supply. She is a heavy producer.

    We have a customer who was told by their physician; under the table of course, to find someone sellng raw milk for their new baby. The little girl couldn't hold down any formula; prescription or otherwise. Since they put her on raw milk she has started growing like a weed. I guess everyone knows that raw milk helps to digest its self, and this seems to help the child. They have had her on raw milk since about the middle of June and she has really gained a lot of weight.
     
  9. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Since Corabelle freshened in Aug. we've been drinking raw milk. I've pasteurized it also, but even it has a different taste to it. I'll miss it when Corabelle has to dry off for a bit this summer before she freshens again. Raw milk is all we'll drink if available.
     
  10. Ken in Minn

    Ken in Minn Well-Known Member

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    I think raw milk is just one of God's Wonders. And the milk from the store, is a wonder, like how old is it, whats in it, who has handled it, and how. And what all is in it, foriegn matter, plus what the gov. says to put in it. I like my milk. but the store stuff is just one notch off of junk. There seems to be more people that are alergic to it every day. WHY?????

    Ken in Minn
     
  11. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't even consider drinking pastureized milk. I was raised on it, and was always "lactose intolerant". With raw milk I have no problems at all.
     
  12. stormwalker

    stormwalker Well-Known Member

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    On another thread there was a discussion on the possibility of lepto-induced abortions. Leptospirosis in humans can end in the same result. Listeriosis is another cross-species problem. TB is a factor for cattle contaminated by deer, and from there to humans in raw milk.
    If you are going to offer raw milk to people, I think it's your responsibility to TEST, and continue to TEST.
    It's a huge responsibility.
     
  13. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    What swayed me was when our vet, a raw-milk kind of guy, said in a herd situation like ours he would pasteurize. As a picky eater myself, I was glad to run the pasteurizer, even though our cows were extremely healthy and we always got good lab reports from the dairy.

    DH and his family all drank raw milk and-or home-pasteurized. His sister does have IBS and various allergies, and one aunt is lactose intolerant. I dont' think it has anything to do with the milk they drank (raw and-or home-pasteurized and-or goat milk from neighbors) I think the digestive problems are just soemthing they inherited.

    The outside chance of someone getting a bug from a food product I've sold just bothers me. When we were milking I was always thinking if they kicked the milker off could easily get a shot of E Coli into teh milk ... even though it would be quite diluted by the time we got it out of the bulk tank. Still kinda bothered me so I agreed with the vet.

    Pastor at our former church could NOT believe we would take perfectly good raw milk and ruin it like that! ;)

    If I had the resources, I think I would do a feeding trial, and feed one group of rats raw milk and one group bottled milk. (Although would have to try and find raw milk with the same cream content as bottled ...) and see what happened. (Probably they'd grow just the same!) NOte to self ... remember this when kids are doing science fair at school ...

    Well this brought back a lot fo memories, since we have been out of milking cows for about a year now. Still adjusting ...

    Ann
     
  14. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    This was actually done with cats in the 30's by Dr. Francis Pottenger. Proponents of raw milk often cite his studies when building their case.
     
  15. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    Oh my god, what a can of worms. Here's a good one for you. We have a small family dairy, and I make my kids drink store bought milk most of the time. OK I can hear it now, the sacrilige yada yada yada. Drinking raw milk from a cow is generally safe, however the stuff that doesn't come from the cow that happens to be very dangerous. My sister was hospitalized for this( listeria). I was almost hospitalized with eColi when I started drinking raw milk from a new farm I worked at. We clean and sanitize sell grade A, got a perfect score last inspection, but it is what you don't see or know that can hurt you. I plan on getting a pasturizer so my kids can at least get the full blown real deal, till then I try to avoid it. There is a case pending in WI about someone with this cow share plan. Evidently the consumers got sick and sued the guy for selling raw milk. It has been a year since this started so I am unsure the outcome. Nothing can turn friends into enemies than something like this. Be cautious and careful and extremely clean if your product is going to young children or ederly folks. I hate paying for it when it's right out there in the barn, but in the long run it beats a scare.
     
  16. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    In the 1930s?

    Time for a do-over! Or maybe it has been done over somewhere and we just don't hear about it.

    I really do think this could be a good project for somebody. Maybe a high schooler, or AnSci major in college.

    If I could, I would autopsy all the test animals and examine guts, livers, etc., in addition to noting their finished weights and outward appearance.

    Ann
     
  17. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    I'm glad that some people finally recognize that there might be dangers to drinking raw milk. I've been milking ever since I was old enough (age 8) and we've been selling milk for more than 55 years.

    When I mentioned that we pasteurized our milk, I got scolded by a number of posters that I was ruining the milk, didn't know what I was doing, etc. Mind you that I didn't tell anyone else not to drink raw milk, just that we pasteurized. That I needed to get with the program and read these advocacy web sites like realmilk. (I guess they are real objective.)

    I really enjoy when some pilgrims tell me how I don't know anything. We have 23 years of spotless Grade A inspections, extremely low somatic cell counts, etc. A lot of these cow share raw milk programs know where the milk came, but they might not really know what's in that milk, at least not as much as they think they know.

    I think most dairyman don't give a tinker's d*mn about on-farm milk sales and these cow-shares. It's small potatoes, and we are content to know that we don't have to worry about someone suing us. To each his own.
     
  18. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    I found this thread very interesting. We are going to milk again and I was deciding what to have the cow tested for before we drank the milk. I and my dh have been asking the local farmers who milk what do they test their herds for. I have asked several in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. They all answered the same. NOTHING. Not one of them test for any thing like Johannes, TB or anything else. So, if you drink milk from Shenandoah Pride, it might be pasteurized but if what's in it isn't killed by pastuerization, then you drink it.


    Laura Lynn
     
  19. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to repeat this question in another thread that I'm going to post, but thought I'd put it here too. How or where do I get my milk tested for things like somatic cell counts, listeria, and e coli? Are the somatic cell counts the same for a period of time and icrease only when there is a problem? I have one cow that I cleanse meticulously, filter her milk, chill it immediately, etc., but wanted to know where the milk stood. Thx.
     
  20. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    At home I pasteurize my milk religiously, even though I try to milk in a sanitary fashion.

    I was especially glad I've always pasteurized when my beatiful, fat, shiny, dappled Jersey cow IN ONE MONTH declined and died of Johne's, which I NEVER would have suspected! :waa:

    I believe the safety precautions offset whatever loss of flavor or trace nutrients occurs in pasteurization.

    Now, homogenization is very bad, offers no health benefits, and actually creates a health risk to humans! And it's done for strictly cosmetic reasons ... :no:

    Avoiding homogenization is the biggest benefit to keeping cows IMO. (Besides ... all the CREAM!) :D