This is the text of our CowshareTrifold Brochure (PDF).
Gain Access to Unprocessed Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows, Nature’s Perfect Food!
Help Save Local Dairy Farms!
Purchase a Share in a Dairy Cow or Dairy Herd!
Copyright © 2005 The Weston A. Price Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.
Why We Need Cowshare Programs
Healthy Real Milk is available in stores in California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. In many other states you can buy milk directly from farmers at the farm.
However, in some states, such sales are illegal; a farmer can lose his or her Grade A license and even go to jail for selling consumers unprocessed milk directly.
In these states, consumers have been able to obtain raw milk directly from farmers by purchasing a share in a cow, or in the whole herd. Even in states where sales of raw milk are legal, the permits are often very expensive. Cowshare programs allow farmers to provide raw milk to consumers without cumbersome and expensive paperwork mandated by the state.
How Cowshare Programs Work
The consumer purchases a share in a milk cow or dairy herd. The farmer and the consumer enter into a contract whereby the farmer feeds and boards the cow, and provides the labor to milk the cow and store the consumer’s milk.
Such contracts are legal and valid, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.
The consumer does not buy milk from the farmer. Rather, he pays the farmer for the service of keeping the cow and his labor for milking the cow and processing the milk into butter, cream, cheese, etc.
However, he may directly purchase other products from the farm, such as eggs, vegetables and meat.
Cowshare programs protect the farmer from liability since the cow belongs to the consumer and the consumer is drinking the milk from his own cow.
Checklist for Cowshare Owners
Before you purchase a cowshare, be sure that:
- Cows graze on unsprayed pasture except during the coldest time of the year and are fed hay and silage when in barns.
- The herd is tested free of TB and brucellosis.
- Teats of cows are cleaned with iodine solution before milking.
- Cows are milked in a clean barn or milking parlor using an automatic milking machine.
- Milk is kept chilled in stainless steel tanks or glass bottles.
- Milk is tested regularly to ensure absence of pathogens.
Economics of Dairy Farming
Conventional Small Dairy Economics
- Thirty cows in a confinement situation.
- Fed high-protein feed to push milk production.
- Cows produce 190 hundredweight per year.
- Farmer receives $10/hundredweight (same price as dairy farmers got before WWII).
- Gross income is $57,000.
- No government subsidies (only big farms get those).
- Costs are high:
- Feed (grain, supplements, etc.)
- Vet bills (cows are always sick)
- Replacement cows (cows live only 42 months)
- Artificial breeding (hard to get cows pregnant)
- Interest on debt (capital to purchase expensive equipment).
Small dairy farmers cannot make a living on this model, which is why in 2002, dairy farms in the US went out of business at the rate of 16 per day.
- Thirty cows on 100 acres of pasture.
- Lower production but healthier cows.
- Cows produce 100 hundredweight per year.
- Farmer sells milk for at least $4 per gallon, equivalent to about $50/hundredweight.
- Provides butter, cream and cheese for a price equivalent to about $50/hundredweight.
- Feeds whey and skim milk to chickens and pigs.
- Gross income for milk & milk products is $150,000.
- Gross income for eggs, chicken, pork and other products is $50,000.
- Costs are low:
- Feed cost minimal (sunlight is free!)
- Vet bills are low (cows are healthy)
- No replacement-cow costs (Cows breed easily, replace themselves, live 12-15 years)
- Interest on debt much lower (not as many capital costs).
Why Consumers Want Real Milk
More and more consumers have trouble digesting commercial milk; many have allergies to modern milk products. Processed milk is actually an adulterated product that:
- Comes from cows fed high-protein feed, which is totally inappropriate for cows and which makes the milk more difficult to digest and causes it to be allergenic.
- Comes from cows fed feed laced with antibiotics and pesticides, both of which come out in the milk.
- Is lacking in adequate fat needed for nutrient assimilation—milk from old-fashioned cows on pasture contains twice as much butterfat as modern milk labeled “whole” milk.
- Is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, processes that destroy the enzymes and vitamins in the milk and denature many of the proteins.
- Is susceptible to contamination because pasteurization destroys milk’s good bacteria (which protect us against the bad bacteria!)
- Is homogenized, a process that violently breaks up the fat globules.
- Contains additives and contaminants, including harsh cleaning fluids used to clean the miles of pipes in modern milk factories; and nonfat dry milk (added to reduced-fat milk), which contains carcinogens, oxidized cholesterol and MSG.
These same consumers are discovering that they have no problems digesting unprocessed (raw) milk from pasture-fed cows. In fact, such milk—called Real Milk—provides numerous health benefits. It is Nature’s perfect food, especially good for growing children and those who are recovering from serious illness.
Cowshare programs are saving small farms in Colorado, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, New York, Texas and many other states where state law forbids the sale of raw milk.
For sample cowshare contracts and a list of cowshare programs by state, visit www.realmilk.com
A Campaign for Real Milk is a project of The Weston A. Price Foundation® for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts
Education ~ Research ~ Activism
PMB Box 106-380
4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016