Herdshare Contracts: Use the Right One

This is no matter to take lightly. You want a legally binding agreement.
If you know an attorney that is willing to research what ultimately becomes the WV Code for these agreements, it would be best to make sure an attorney is involved in creating YOUR Agreement for you.
You will include the a release of liability in this agreement, and you will include an acknowledgement of risk, among other things.
It is worth noting that there are no known insurance companies I've heard of, even when talking with the Farm to Consumer Defense Fund, that will cover raw milk herdshares.
It is important to realize there is no way to escape the possibility of liability regardless of what a consumer / herdshare member signs. Sometimes farm policies will not cover farms that offer share sales, so that is something to note. Consider a limited liability insurance policy.
You can read some working agreements online below:

Herdshare Agreement EXAMPLES

Shiloh Acres Agreement

Stony Heights Sale Form and Agreement

Triple D Ranch Agreement 

Pasture Delights Agreement and Sale form

James Ranch: Boarding Contract and Sales form

Copy and Paste from

Sale of Herd Share Agreement

"FARM NAME"  (“Seller”) and __________________________________________  (“Buyer”) agree as follows:

1. Seller agrees to sell ____ herd share to Buyer.  One herd share is defined as 1/10th the value of one Certified Organic milking cow.  One half share is worth 1/20th the value of one  milking cow.  Buyer is not assigned to a particular cow in the "FARM NAME"  herd.

2. One herd share purchase prices is $200.

3. Buyer, upon payment of $______, becomes part owner of the "FARM NAME"  herd.

4. A non-refundable, administrative fee is included in the herd share purchase price.  It is $25 for a half share and $50 for a whole share.

5. Buyer agrees to pay for the care, maintenance, boarding, feeding and labor of his/her cows for the complete duration of his/her ownership in "FARM NAME" .  The details of this agreement are on an accompanying agreement/contract, “Boarding Agreement.”

6. Buyer may transfer or sell part ownership of the herd by one of the two following methods:
a. Buyer may give Seller 30 days’ written notice of his intent to sell his/her share.  The money for the initial purchase of the herd share does not have to be returned to the buyer until a new buyer has bought into "FARM NAME" .
b. Buyer may attempt to find a purchaser himself.  Once the purchaser of Buyer’s share has transferred money to the initial Buyer and a contract with purchaser’s information is given to "FARM NAME"  owners, then the Buyer is released of the monthly Boarding Agreement contract.

7. Milking cows go through different stages of lactation throughout their lifetimes:
a. Breeding:  "FARM NAME" , breeding is done naturally with bulls during the summer months
b. Dry period:  The milk cow is given 2 months of dry time in which she is not milked.  This gives her body rest before her calf is born.  This “dry period” is during the winter months of February and March.  
c. Springer:  This term is used for a cow or heifer when she is near the end of her gestation, just before she has her calf.  Normal gestation is 9 months.
d. Freshening:  This is the time in a cow’s lactation when the calf has just been born and she starts producing colostrum, then milk.  

8. If a cow in the "FARM NAME"  herd has not bred within the appropriate calving window of time, the owners of "FARM NAME" will make a decision as to whether or not that cow will be sold and replaced with a cow in the calving window or if she will remain in the herd as a dry cow until she freshens.

9. One herd share entitles Buyer to 1/10th of all the by-products that one cow produces.  If the by-product is fluid milk, Buyer is responsible to collect it on a weekly basis, on their assigned day of the week.  If Buyer desires other by-products such as manure or compost, Buyer needs to communicate with "FARM NAME owners as when to set up a pick up time.

10. Buyer is entitled to enter Seller’s farm premises at reasonable hours on appointed day of the week to pick up by-products that their share produces.

11. Buyer is responsible to thoroughly clean containers for fluid milk before coming to the farm.  Seller is not responsible to bottle or clean Buyer’s jars.

12. The owners of "FARM NAME will have ½ gallon glass jars available for purchase by the Buyer.  Informing the Sellers is appreciated.

13. Buyer is aware of the risks associated with the consumption of fresh unprocessed milk.  Buyer agrees that he/she is personally assuming the liability for the consumption of fresh unprocessed milk and will educate Buyer’s family members who may also consume the milk on a regular basis.  This relieves "FARM NAME of this responsibility.  

14. If Buyer believes he/she or a family member contracts an illness that could possibly originate from the milk, Buyer will contact Sellers immediately so that appropriate action can be taken.  

15. Buyer understands that Sellers take cleanliness extremely seriously and have appropriate processes in place regarding safe milk handling.

16. Buyer understands that it is illegal to sell raw milk.  Buyer warrants that all fresh unprocessed milk obtained by Buyer is for his/her own personal use and for no other purpose.

17. If a cow in the "FARM NAME herd is no longer productive as determined by the Sellers, she will be sold for beef.  The money obtained from her sale will be placed in the “Cow Replacement Fund” so that another cow may be purchased and added to the "FARM NAME herd in a timely fashion.  

18. This contract will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan.

Signed this ___________ day of ___________________, in the year ______________.

"FARM NAME" Seller: Buyer:

________________________________ ____________________________

Contact information of Buyer:

Phone number:______________________________________
Email address:______________________________________
Take a Moment and read this Article from Weston A. Price on how to make sure you stay protected, as best you can, as a farmer!
If you join, their attorney team will construct a herdshare agreement for you that works with what will be our state laws at that time. They are experienced at this and create agreements nationally.
You are also then entitled to various benefits, including:
Our 24-hour toll-free hotline for legal emergencies any time of day or night to speak with an attorney if you receive a warning letter from a government agency or if there is a surprise visit or inspection from a government agency.
Unlimited consultation with attorneys on matters within our mission including advice on federal, state and local agriculture and health department regulations affecting direct distribution of farm and artisan food products. A dairy and farm consultant is also available to give advice on matters related to farm operations.
Access to information on legal and regulatory issues that could affect your right to provide and obtain farm products and artisan foods.
Potential legal representation to defend access to and direct distribution of raw milk and other farm products as well as artisan foods.
Consistent with Internal Revenue Service regulations, we cannot guarantee representation in every case. However, in practice, we will come to the aid of our members to protect and advance the rights all to grow, raise, prepare, provide or obtain and consume nutrient-dense foods.

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