How to Start and Manage a Micro Dairy, Step 12: The Business Model We Chose

| 10/8/2013 9:35:00 AM

Tags: micro dairy, Steve Judge, Vermont,

milking parlorOver the years, I’ve learned that there are many ways to successfully manage a traditional dairy farm. But managing a Micro Dairy and holding a full-time job (which was a necessity to help support my family) at the same time created unique problems that required clever solutions.  Here are a few basic guidelines:

1)  Keep the cows clean, dry and comfortable.

2)  Keep the milking and milk handling equipment spotless and sanitary.

3)  Cool the milk as quickly as possible.

4) Extend the lives of the cows by keeping them healthy and happy.

I found that the close-to-home production of safe and delicious farm-fresh milk is frequently overlooked by the local food movement. Dairy is often considered too big and industrial to be thought of as local. But, almost every neighborhood corner store, convenience store and deli sells fluid milk. Obviously, the demand is there, even though most commercially processed milk suffers from serious and documented flavor defects. If I could produce better tasting milk with a longer shelf life, I could sell it locally for a premium, but fair, price. The key would be selling my milk for retail prices directly from my farm or by making limited deliveries to cooperative pick-up locations. I could never afford to pay a distributor to deliver my milk for me. Instead, I'd have to follow the laws of supply and demand.

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