Jena, I've been working there just under a year, but it's a bigger operation, milking in a parlor, although you're right, I have learned a lot (basically, everything I know about the business, which still isn't much! :haha: ) and yes, I intend to keep working there.
I have checked a bit into what the regs are here. I know I'll need to add a milkhouse and maybe an additional barn to house the cattle, if I convert what is presently my cowshed into stanchions for milking. This is basically part of a pole barn with a cement floor.
I already have stanchions, Surge milkers sans the rubber, and a vacuum pump that needs a 1 hp motor to power it. I know I'll need a bulk tank, a big sink for washing up and a small inspector's sink (have that already) for the milkhouse.
Someone told me that my well pump needs to be above-ground (they were required to switch their when they switched to being a Grade A dairy) but my husband says other farms around here have submersible pumps?
My biggest fear about building here is that we don't have a lot of land to begin with, it's already crowded with outbuildings, trees that I don't want to cut down (i.e. fruit trees), garden, greenhouse, etc.!
Eventually, if I wanted to grow the size of my operations, I'd be forced to start over elsewhere. So I don't know whether it would be better just to start from scratch ...
There is 20 undeveloped acres for sale nearby that hubby and I have had our eyes on for over a year now. We would have to finance it, of course, as well as the buildings, and I don't know if I could stay as small as I'd to (at least to start out) while being able to pay the overhead.
I suspect there also are some small dairies that are no longer in operation, and it might be possible to rent facilities (the farmer I work for is doing this, actually). Again, I don't know how big I'd have to be to cover the cost.
Lots of decisions!