Herd Shares

From Organic, Grass fed ONLY, Dairy Cows

What is a Herd Share?

In the State of Michigan, people are allowed to obtain fresh, unprocessed, whole milk (aka "raw milk") through cow shares or herd shares.  A person can buy part of a cow or herd, then pay the farmer a monthly boarding fee.  Because they are owning part of the cow or herd, they are allowed to pick up the cow's milk on a weekly basis for as long as they are current members.  The monthly fee includes the care of the animal, feed, any vet bills, replacement cows, and the service of being milked.

Is Fresh, Unprocessed, Whole Milk safe to drink?

Pathogens that could make a person sick don't come from the cow's udder, but from a dirty environment.  At Green Pastures, we take cleanliness in milk handling very seriously.  When the cows come into the barn for milking, we clean off the teats with iodine, then wipe them off with a clean towel.  Next, the milking unit goes on.  The milk is pumped to the bulk tank through sanitized stainless steel pipes, where it is then cooled immediately to 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the milk flowing though sanitized stainless steel pipes there is very little risk of pathogens getting into the milk.   The bulk tank is also cleaned and sanitized every other day.  If there are signs of sickness in a cow, her milk will not go into the bulk tank until she is fully healthy again.  A great resource written by Peggy Beals, is called “Safe Handling- Consumers’ Guide- Preserving the Quality of Fresh, Unprocessed Whole Milk."  

Monthly Testing:  We are also checking for certain pathogens on a monthly basis in the milk, including E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter.  If is very important that members handle their milk at home very carefully.  Wash and dry your jars before each use, and do not handle raw meat and then your milk without washing your hands and kitchen surfaces.  For example, Campylobacter is a bacteria that normally lives in chickens' intestines.  It doesn't make them sick, but it can make humans miserably sick about 1 week.  If you ever think the milk has been contaminated, please save a sample from your fridge and we will do extra testing.  We have done this in the past several times and no pathogens have been found in the milk.

What does "Organic" milk mean?

Since Green Pastures is certified Organic by OnMark, we must follow all of the requirements and mountainous documentation logistics of the certifier.  We have been certified Organic since 2007!

What Does it Cost? 

To buy part of the Green Pastures herd, there is a one time, non-refundable cost of $75, PLUS the monthly boarding fee which covers the care, feed and labor in caring for the herd.

How to get started.

To have access to raw milk from your part of the Green Pastures herd, you'll need to sign a contract that explains the different aspects of herd share ownership.  You'll pay a monthly boarding fee that covers the cost of the animals' care and cow replacements.  There are times when a milk cow is dry (the 2 months before having her calf), so the other cows in the herd help there to be milk available year round.   Click below on the "Herd Share and Boarding Agreement" to download the contract and bring a copy with your to your Getting Started Appointment.  Payment at this time is cash or check.  Bring a cooler for transporting the milk.  We have half gallon glass jars available.  Email Betsy at migreenpastures@gmail.com to set up a time!

New Herdshare Contract 2022

Rotational Grazing Dairy since 1991

In 1991 Jesse, his brother Luke and their parents Steve and Sue, converted their 200 acre farm into a rotational grazing dairy.  With much thought and planning, they stopped growing corn, soy and other grains to instead, invest in a greener future!  They put up electric fencing in 10 -20 acre paddocks, so they could intensively rotate the cows around the farm.  At first the soils were not used to the cows' fresh manure, but over time the soil microbes adjusted and flourished!  Within a few years the microbes could digest the manure and turn into fabulous nutrients that have greatly improved the health and quality of the soil.  We farm with rotational grazing methods for the beef and dairy animals.  They receive NO GRAIN in their diets.  Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy cows, healthy milk, healthy people!

Tired of allergies, eczema and asthma or lactose intolerance?  Try fresh, unprocessed, whole milk!