[Homestead] Small dairy farmer
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Oct 2 23:24:06 EDT 2004
>A friend of ours has been doing this type of dairy farming since not long
>after we sold our dairy herd in 1985. He rotates pastures, feeds no
>commercial grains, does not use pesticides, herbicides, growth stimulants,
>milk stimulating hormones, and almost no medications. He has opened, with
>his family and neighbors, a small store in which he sells his milk, fresh
>veggies, has a pick-it-yourself set up for several fruits and veggies
>(right now he is establishing a grape arbor). They also sell cheese, fresh
>eggs, and several canned foods which he purchases (mostly from Amish in
>Ohio). He maintains, as required in South Carolina, a Grade A dairy and the
>only treatment done to their fresh milk and buttermilk is to pasteurize it.
>The milk is not homogenized.
tvoivozhd---producer to consumer is where it's at. The best format for
selling a limited dairy-based menu I ever saw was in Miami in the
1950-s,---called "Farm Stores"---a one-way drive-in one side, circle a
small hut and drive-out the other side, on a narrow, not very long lot,
ingress and egress away from a corner (cheaper land) on a major
A very limited and fast-moving menu, milk, eggs, ice cream and bread,
two-persons taking orders over a microphone, and dispensing orders,
taking cash. Some ceiling high refrigeration racks, refilled from
outside. Good lighting inside and out, and not really big enough to
invite robbers---all bills went immediately into a ground-level safe
inaccessible to store employees.
They ate the supermarkets alive. One of them bought the Farm Store
chain and closed them all down to eliminate better-format competition.
Hated to see them go, and back to the supermarket to the parking lot and
slog through the building to dairy case, slog back through a crowded
cashier line, and slog back to the car in the parking lot.
>He told me last month, that he only has a couple of cases of mastitis a
>year, has only had one case of milk fever (low calcium) in 18 months, and
>has only had one still birth in 3 years. In other words, without pushing
>the high protein to produce high amounts of milk, his Holstein cows (and a
>couple of Brown Swiss) remain healthy. He feeds roughage cut on his place
>and which neighbors also cut and sell to him. I'm not sure but I believe he
>has about 60 head in his milk line.
>If we were to get back into the dairy business, I'd certainly want to
>emulate what Tom Trantham has done. His dairy: The Happy Cow. A thriving
>small business which employs the family, 3 generations of them, and the
tvoivozhd---well, I liked many aspects of the dairy farm busiess,
especially the bi-weekly paycheck. Were I to do it today, my milk
parlor would be mobile and out in successive pastures, and I would use
stockpiled pasture, damn little hay. In
Virginia, where the weather is almost totally unpredictable and no dry
periods between rain, I would go to green-chop and bag it. Cows like
hay, but like green-chop better, if the chop is between four and six
inches long---can't make it shorter, they can't digest it.
By the way, my youngest daughter just rented a two-bedroom town-house
apartment in North Wales, Pennsylvania. A temporary, one-year
springboard into Philadelphia and New York theatre business. Bucks
County was too-expensive, the townhouses have a straight road, a few
miles to theatre tryouts and there's twelve or so colleges in easy
driving distance. As the first resident in the town-house complex, she
got a price break, and free use of things subsequent tenants will have
to pay extra for, for example a lavish, fully-equipped physical therapy
department to take off weight (90-day project), improve muscle
tone---trainers and masseurs wandering about and all that sort of
thing..Once ensconced again as a Broadway Player (no longer ingenue) and as
Associate Prof at one or more colleges, she may stray farther south to
pick up a dead dairy farm and operate from there.(a dairy farm with a
big spring and pondsites, that is). I used to know a lot of them
farther west in the Lancaster area. Her oldest boy is with her, and is
looking around for a college offering a Masters in Sports Management,
volleyball-related. He coached a couple off-the-street teams to third
place in some kind of volleyball Olympics, and is well-regarded in
professional volleyball circles on both coasts. Not what I would do, but
people should do what they like, if they can.
>>tvoivozhd---Small dairy farming, especially small, seasonal dairy
>>farming with stockpiled forage accumulating from mid-August forward, can
>>make good money---if spring and summer grazing practices add more than
>>usual to the bottom line.
>>This fall, ARS soil scientist Lloyd B. Owens and colleagues at Coshocton
>>are using simple electric fences to create small paddocks to rotate
>>cattle from one part of a pasture to another every day or two. They are
>>testing a system called management-intensive, or rotational, dairy grazing.
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