How are people able to sell goat milk legally? Have you ever wondered how people sell Goat or Sheep Cheese, Yogurt, or raw milk legally without having a huge Grade-A Dairy? If so, you need to read this! Don’t lose out on this ridiculously easy way to increase your income and have fun along the way.
Goat and sheep milk and their products have been around for centuries. Cheeses, yogurts, keifers, butter, and raw milk have been feeding thousands. Why is there now a problem selling this great product to the world? Politics!
According to GARDENTECH, as of 2013, over one-third of Americans are growing food. Growing your food, whether you plant it or raise animals for it, is healthier, gives you a great feeling of independence, and can be profitable. There are great benefits and some restrictions if you want to sell the food you raise and produce.
One of those restrictions is if you want to sell raw milk or its products. If you’ve ever milked a cow or goat, you know there can be a lot more milk than your family can use. Even with the cheeses, butter, and yogurt, there will be an overabundance. This leads me up to why I’m writing this article.
I don’t know about all states, but I tried to find out what the rules are for selling raw milk around the country. All states have their own agriculture regulations for milk production and sale.
The states I could find something about, generally had similar rules as we do here in Idaho. Oregon will let you have nine goats or sheep and sell their milk but only from your farm. You are not able to sell in stores or anywhere off the farm. Tennessee on the other hand has a fifty goat or sheep limit. No matter what your state has for official rules it’s worth looking into. There were a few states that had no restrictions. Texas and Connecticut, on the other hand, will not allow the sale of raw milk outside Grade-A dairies.
There is also what is called “herd shares” where you buy a share of either a herd or an animal. Now you are an owner and can have your raw milk. You still can’t sell it but at least the person sharing the animal makes a small profit. Here is a map I found on Real Milk Find that helps explain where and what the laws are.
I want to let people know that in several states you can get a small herd dairy exemption certification that will allow you to sell your milk and milk products without the hassle and expense of a Grade-A dairy. It applies to goats, sheep, and cows. But contact your State Department of Agriculture to find out what your state requires.
All of your large dairies are required to have a “Grade A” certification that regulates all the building specifications, fancy dairy equipment, sanitation equipment, and inspections. But a “Small herd exemption” only requires blood testing of the animals and periodic testing of the milk. This gives the small rancher or homesteader the ability to milk, produce, and sell their dairy products.
Doing the small herd exemption for selling goat milk legally here in Idaho is very simple and quick. Here’s how:
- You can have up to 7 lactating goats or sheep.
- They need to be tagged or tattooed for identification.
- Veterinarian blood tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis.
- Fill out their request form and get approved.
- Finally, have the doe’s milk tested.
Check below to see the web link for Idaho Dept. of Agriculture Small Herd Exemption requirements. Other states should have theirs on the Department Of Agriculture website under Dairy.
The Department of Agriculture is not particular where or how you milk your goats. I had them tell me “you can tie your goat to a tree and milk into a mason jar” and that would be fine as long as the milk tests.
I would make a suggestion though.
The department told me that I could go ahead and milk and sell before they came to test. Do not do it! Get your test results first before you start selling. Going back to get everything if you don’t test is embarrassing and frustrating.
Getting your Small Herd Exemption Certification is exciting. Now you can make all your special cheeses and yogurts and sell them in grocery stores, online, fruit stands, and anywhere you choose to. You have now added another income to your budget!
Making your own cheese and yogurt is a wonderful experience.
You can experiment with different herbs and other additives to make your cheese all your own. Special orders for parties and catering are great ways to get out there. Goat yogurt is incredibly awesome and when frozen is delicious and healthy ice cream.
If your state doesn’t have a statute at this time, maybe this is where YOU can make a difference. Maybe you can talk to your Legislator and help write a bill to implement a small herd exemption certification. Every rule or regulation started with one person. Good luck and have fun! Check out these other websites for more information.
1. An American Timeline: Home Gardening in the U.S. (gardentech.com), GardenTech, An American Timeline: Home Gardening in the U.S., Jolene Hansen. https://www.gardentech.com/blog/gardening-and-healthy-living/an-american-timeline-home-gardening-in-the-us
2. Real Milk Finder: A Campaign for Real Milk, State by State: Last Modified on November 27, 2020, https://www.realmilk.com/state-updates/