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How can one support raw milk without going broke?

 
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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i gotta start by saying i LOVE milk, and have fond memories of the little bit of raw milk ive had access to in the past, i have looked up local raw milk companies, finding one in norhtern CO as the closest but, when i ran the numbers, its like SUPER EXPENSIVE to buy, i know these farmers ahve to jump through a thousand loops and provide a much higher quaility of milk, but i simply DONT HAVE THE MONEY to go out and buy milk at that price, i have trouble keeping up with the amount of milk at grocery store price, so my question is how might i find a farmer that can provide me with a better price on raw milk?

i suspect i may get an answer like, "GET YOUR OWN COW!"
and i like that idea, have been looking into getting a Milking Devon cow, but dont know if i have enough space for one (i have two acres total to play with, but some is dedicated to a house and the homeowner's "lawn" that will not be sacrificed out of superficiality) and have about a thousand other questions so for now im just looking for answers on how to find a raw milk dealer(no matter how small) that can supply us with some quality raw milk for a decent price
 
Mother Tree
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How about a goat? I used to keep one goat for milk, tethered here and there around the place during the day and indoors at night or during bad weather, and she would produce enough milk the first year to keep three families in milk, and two the second year. Generally, the money I got for the milk would pay for her feed, so I'd be on free milk most of the time.

 
Devon Olsen
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Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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thats something to consider, i'll have to try cow and goat milk more to compare flavor but I THINK that the raw milk i had as a kid was goat milk from a neighbor, i just cant remember for certain, thanks for the response and recommendation:)
 
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I understand your position. I also know many that have the space and time for a cow, they just can't swing the $1000-2000 for a good cow. If you can find one of those people locally, you can start your own mini-CSA partnership. Equipment for hand milking is pretty minimal--a stainless steel bucket and a lot of jars to store the milk are the only big things, you can get everything you need for $200 without trouble--way cheaper if you look around and scrounge.

We BOUGHT THE COW. The pay-back for us was less than a month. At that time my oldest son could drink a gallon a day if we let him, and the younger ones were keeping up. We bought a cheap cow that didn't give enough for the dairy (but more than we needed) and milked by hand. Even at the higher cow prices today, payback is still a couple months if you use butter or cheese.

 
steward
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A few people I've met, who own milk cows or milk goats, have made arrangements to share their excess milk in exchange for milking labor, or animal or farm care. If you have the time and are willing, perhaps you could find something like this near you.

R Scott's idea of a mini- or milk-CSA is lovely, though the people I know doing this kind of trade are often doing it under the radar due to the various laws that prohibit selling (or even bartering) for raw milk.

I imagine that getting to know folks in your community with WAP, raw milk or permie interests might lead to a raw milk connection.
 
Devon Olsen
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Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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i dont know about permie interests in my direct community but i do know that FORTUNATELY in wyoming it is legal to sell raw milk to a "friend" or relative, though retail sales are prohibited
 
Devon Olsen
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Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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and to R scott, i am one of those gallon a day folks if allowed, i literally have drank a gallon a day all to myself for a two week period before, very enjoyable two weeks lemme tell ya!
im really the main reason we could use a family milk cow and therefore am the most interested in getting one and some paddocks set up for it

but good advice all around and thanks for the replies to the thread...
 
Presenter
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See if you can help out at a local buying club or raw dairy co-op in exchange for a few gallons of milk each week. Some buying clubs simply donate milk to members in need.

Also, many raw milk farmers would WELCOME your help at the farm in exchange for some milk. Just ask!
 
steward
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Since you are posting from WY, try this link:
http://www.realmilk.com/where10.html#wy
 
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We have milk goats - each produces about 1/2 a gallon a day, and we only milk once per day. Since I enjoy taking a break from milking, my neighbor milks two days a week and keeps the milk those days. She also buys the alfalfa for the goats, so it's a win-win for both families.
 
Devon Olsen
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thanks for the advice guys and john, i just found that site earlier and already emailed the three posted farmers in my town... thanks for the link though man, i appreciate everyones willingness to help me figure this out:)
 
Devon Olsen
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i also think that realmilk link includes emails for people who are no longer in business... i dont get any responses from any of em

anyone know another site that has useful info?
 
Sarah Pope
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A lot of farmers are not responding to people they don't know anymore given the persecution out there right now in many states. I myself don't even consider or allow new members to join my dairy buying club if they are not well known already to existing members of the group. This is because buying clubs are getting whacked by overzealous gov't regulators as well even if all the legal paperwork is in order. Insane.

Best to ask around and try to find people who are seeking the same thing you are. Ask at healthfood stores and try to find some slow food or WAPF type meetings in your area.
 
Devon Olsen
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i know in Wyoming its technically legal to sell to friends and neighbors, so long as your not retail... but that DOES NOT mean the govt wouldn't overstep its boundaries, as governments always do eventually
 
pollinator
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I have a neighbor who does exactly as mentioned above: One person owns the cow, a few specially picked friends and family rotate milking days. No money exchanges hands. The owner cannot use all of that milk anyway so the extra milkers are doing him (and the cow) a favor.

I am not even sure if anyone is pitching in for feed as we have year round pasture here if it is managed properly and she only gets a little feed to keep her happy during milking.

I wouldn't mind being in on it but I am still working a wonky schedule on a full time basis. So I still buy my raw milk and pay over $8 a gallon for it. I don't mind as I would never put that other stuff in my mouth again anyway.

Now days I treat it as a treat. One gallon for a bit of butter, save the buttermilk for pancakes or bisciuts, and the other gallon for a taste now and then. I break it up into quart/pint jars and keep it in the freezer. I love the stuff but, besides being expensive I have found that my arthritis really appreciates it when I lay off of the milk.
 
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Location: Zone 5B: Grand Rapids, MI
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Devon Olsen wrote:and to R scott, i am one of those gallon a day folks if allowed, i literally have drank a gallon a day all to myself for a two week period before, very enjoyable two weeks lemme tell ya!
im really the main reason we could use a family milk cow and therefore am the most interested in getting one and some paddocks set up for it

but good advice all around and thanks for the replies to the thread...



You might want to consider drinking a little less of it. I'm not sure anyone would recommend a gallon a day.
 
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