WV Raw Milk Herdshares: West Virginia's Source for Raw Milk information, education and herd share information from the 7 year fight to legalize raw milk herdshares.
A Connection and Education Page for Farmers and Share Buyers to learn from and share in
Too many of us are used to seeing milked priced at $3 per gallon the store and assume that means if one sells milk or shares at that price, there is some profit to be made because, after all, that is the store price.
Please remember that dairies are subsidized. They do not make a real profit at what they are selling their milk for, though yes, it is much less than $3 a gallon before it hits the store.
If you are farming in humane way, giving the animals a quality of life, if you are feeding a healthy, more natural diet and giving individual care, you are offering a much higher quality product than BIG AG is offering.
Your competition isn’t BIG AG’s inferior product. Do not price it as if you are operating on government farm subsidies and cranking out a product from a machine.
Nationally, herd shares in goat herd are $10-15 a week for a single share, which means the consumer receives one gallon of milk. Cows shares are typically $6-10 per share, which also means the consumer receives one gallon of milk. This is not a regional price. The price is basically at least the above prices in more rural areas or economically challenged areas. (Revised 2016)
Your time is of value. Farmers cannot operate at a loss and expect to succeed or even last in farming, so keep that in mind.
When you sit down to come up with your costs to produce a single gallon of milk, you must consider your purchase price of your stock, your total yearling feed cost per animals (including the value of your pasture), vet care, over the counter medical expenses, minerals, you must include these same costs for male breeding animals and offspring, fence installation and barn structure costs and milk equipment costs. Once you do, you will see how prices under $6 for cows or $10 on goats leaves you working very, very hard – tirelessly – to give an excellent product of value away for almost nothing.
It is my recommendation you do not price your cow's milk under $6 per share and your goat's milk under $10 per share. This doesn't mean you cannot price your shares higher, as there are many instances where you have a product that is even more valuable to consumers. Perhaps you are certified humane and organic. Perhaps you have A2/A2 cattle. Maybe you've made an investment to collect your milk under Grade A or better standards. Perhaps you expended your land, purchased the right genetics and worked hard to improve your forages in order to allow your cows to be grass fed only.
Nationally, cow's milk is $6-15 per gallon.
Goat's milk is $8-20 per gallon.
Do not UNDER CUT other farmers or de-value your own product.