It’s been beneficial for many dairy producers that, at the same time more farms are looking to process their own milk and sell dairy products, a growing number of consumers are interested in locally made foods. At the same time, some consumers are interested in taking that local food another step further by not only knowing where it was produced but also visiting the farm.
“These folks that are going to be your consumers and your customers are going to want to come to your farm,” said Jen Glover on the May 19 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream. “They’re going to want to see your cows and how you care for them and how they’re housed.”
Glover and her husband, Scott, opened Mountain Fresh Creamery in 2011, and they currently process fluid milk, butter, and ice cream with milk from their Glo-Crest Dairy herd in Clermont, Ga. While their retail store is about 2 miles away from the main farm, the Glovers house some heifers near the store and include both the farm and creamery on the tours they offer to visitors.
At the farm, visitors can see the dairy process “from start to finish,” Glover said, including watching the milking procedures through a viewing window. Then, they travel to the creamery to watch the milk being bottled and sample the ice cream.
Located just 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, Glover estimates they see anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 people at their store and farm each year. The family embraces the transparency, but they recognize that it requires additional care at the farm. If you’re interested in starting a processing facility, Glover recommends bringing someone to visit first.
“Have an outsider come to your farm and look around,” she said. “If there’s anything there you wouldn’t want to see on Fox News, you want to fix that before you decide you want to start a creamery.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy economist Mark Stephenson followed up on those comments, reminding that on-farm processing is not an easy venture and requires a solid foundation of producing quality milk to succeed. “One of the first things you have to ask is, presumably you’re a good dairy farmer and do a good job of making milk,” he said. “I really think that’s imperative for starting to have this kind of discussion.”
Though good dairy farmers and good dairy processors require some different skillsets, one key is critical for both ventures to be successful: quality milk from healthy cows.
To watch the recording of the May 19 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast. Click here to listen or download.
An ongoing series of events
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