Learning how to sell your jersey cow milk can come in handy if you have a girl who produces more than you can reasonably consume yourself. Some homesteaders find selling their extra milk helps pay for the upkeep of their cattle. Before you start peddling your cow’s wares, you will need to look at regulations that determine whether you can sell or distribute your raw milk. Eleven states allow raw milk to be sold in any retail store. Other states restrict raw cow milk sales to farmers’ markets and directly from the farm or homestead. Some states require pasteurization of raw milk before it can be sold commercially. Knowing the rules and regulations before you get started can keep you out of a heap of trouble. Here’s a primer on things to consider before sharing your Jersey cow milk.
Uncle Sam’s Rules for Selling Jersey Cow Milk
Uncle Sam is a bit of a party pooper when it comes to selling raw milk across state lines. In 1987, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned state-to-state sales of raw milk. Some exceptions exist for raw milk cheeses. As a rule, selling your raw milk to someone in another state can land you in hot water with the feds. It is best to restrict your sales to local customers unless there are any local regulations in your municipality against doing so. We will talk more about that later.
States that are great for raw milk sales
Out of the 50 nifty states in the U.S., only 11 allow raw milk sales in retail stores. They are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington. Other states, like Missouri and Wyoming, allow raw milk lovers to buy their stash from local homesteaders and small dairy farmers. Still, others permit raw milk to be sold directly from farms and homesteads.
Even in states where raw milk sales are permitted, compliance factors must be met. They include:
- Distribution/point of sale. Some states restrict where you can sell your raw milk. You might have to sell it directly from your farm or only at farmers’ markets.
- Inspection and licensing. Sanitary standards ensure raw milk is safe for consumption. Some states require homesteaders and dairy farmers who wish to sell their products to submit to health inspections and licensing requirements first.
- Labeling. From imprinting the date of expressing to language indicating the milk is raw, some states have specific labeling requirements.
- Raw milk testing. Some states have count thresholds for bacteria, coliform, and somatic cells for raw milk. You may need to have your milk tested before selling. Udder Health Systems in Idaho tests all our milk before we consume it or share it with anyone else.
Don’t forget the local boys
Some local regulations can restrict raw milk sales. When in doubt, I recommend reaching out to your local board of health to ensure you have complied with all local laws for selling jersey cow milk. If you plan to sell your raw milk from your farm, one last step is to check with the local zoning code officer to verify on-site sales are permitted in your zoning district.
A final word on selling Jersey cow milk
Homesteaders should never feel pressured to sell their Jersey cow milk. Taking on the responsibility is not for everyone. Just be sure to follow the guidelines above if you do decide to let go of your overflow milk supply to ensure the best experience. Have questions about selling your Jersey cow milk? Feel free to share them in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.
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