Raising Dairy Cows

Reprinted from an article I wrote and published on September 3, 2012

Since the purchase of raw milk is outlawed–criminalized–in most states in America, I have been discouraged, as you know, by the prospect of raising our own dairy herd. However, I just can’t shake the desire to raise my own dairy cows. In talking with some local folks recently, I am less dispirited. It got me thinking….
If a group of us in our area pitched in together to purchase a cow and calf, build a cowshed, buy a milking machine, buy winter hay and straw bedding, and other necessities, would we have enough people invested in their own cow to sign up on a schedule and come out to milk twice a day every day of the week? In an environment where community supported agriculture is encouraged, here are some questions to consider with regard to buying and raising our own dairy cows:
1.       What breed of cow should we buy? Is A2 vs. A2 important to people?
2.       How much are people willing to pitch in to purchase the initial cow and calf?
3.       How much are people willing to pay for future artificial insemination breedings?
4.       Where will the cows live? (Kidder Creek Camp is open to the possibility of pasturing a small herd in their meadows.)
5.       Do we have people willing to put in the time, money and effort to build a covered concrete floor cowshed complete with hot water hookups for milking?
6.       Do we have people willing to pitch in to purchase a portable milking machine?
7.       How much are people willing to pitch in to pay for winter hay and straw bedding?
8.       Do we have enough people willing to sign up to milk our cow every day of the week, twice a day?
9.       Do we have people willing to pick up and transport our initial cow?
10.   How do people feel about vaccinations?
11.   How will we divide and share the steer shares for meat?
I look forward to feedback from people regarding even the remote possibility of such a venture.
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