Goat Source imageGoat Source imageGoat Source imageGoat Source image

Goatshare Dairies in Colorado

By:    Kate Reid

         North County Dairy




Maybe youíve heard the rumors: ďa way to sell your goatís milk LEGALLY in Colorado.Ē You just tell your buyers that they own a part of a goat and that itís really their milk that youíre selling to them. If only it were really that easy.

 Recently, the Colorado state legislature passed a law: Senate Bill 05-055. It codified the legalization of Share Dairies in Colorado.  David Lynch of Guidestone Farms spearheaded the movement to allow consumers the right to choose raw dairy products from the farm. The support was overwhelming with record turnout for the hearings on the bill. The bill does not allow the sales of raw milk.

What the Share Dairy Bill does is allow a contract between farmers and consumers to purchase an undivided share in a dairy herd and the pay for boarding and maintenance of that share. In turn, the consumer is provided with a share of the milk produced by that herd.

 There are rules to limit the distribution of shares/milk.

  1. There must be a written, signed bill of sale for the share and a written, signed contract for the boarding and care of that share. These documents must be kept on hand at the dairy for every share sold. It is necessary for money to be paid for the share, usually equivalent to the purchase price of a portion of an animal. The monthly boarding fee paid is also not a per gallon price. Fees paid must be equivalent to care and boarding and not just pay lipservice to the share idea.
  2. Milk must be picked up from the farm where it is produced. Delivery is not acceptable.
  3. Milk must be picked up by the shareholder and cannot be resold or redistributed.
  4. Milk must be labeled that it has not been pasteurized.
  5. The dairy must provide to each shareholder, prior to signing contracts, a complete disclosure of sanitation and milking procedures.
  6. The dairy must register with the Colorado Department of Health, prior to distribution of milk.

This is what the law requires, but thereís far more to operating a goatshare dairy than whatís in the law. The Raw Milk Association of Colorado was created as a self regulating body of the raw milk producers. We have set guidelines and standards for production to ensure a safe and secure supply of raw milk to consumers. These standards include requirements for accreditation with the Raw Milk Association of Colorado and recommendations for quality production.

The requirements for accreditation by the RMAC include testing of all animals in the herd for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis, testing of milk for general bacteria and pathogens, and reporting of all testing to consumers and the RMAC.

 What this means for producers of goatís milk wanting to sell their milk is that there is much more to it than just writing a contract on a napkin and calling it a share. It is very important that the raw milk industry in Colorado maintain a high quality standard or anti-raw milk factions in the state will take away our ability to distribute raw milk and the consumerís ability to receive raw milk products. 

For more information on operating a Goatshare Dairy in Colorado, please contact Kate Reid @ North County Dairy in Fort Collins, Colorado at northcountyfarm@earthlink.net or 970-568-3315.