Frequently asked questions
What's a herd share?
A herd share agreement is a contract between a farmer and customer that allows the customer to buy a share or portion of an animal. It is not acceptable in the state of Ohio to sell raw milk for human consumption. The acceptable way for a person who desires to obtain and consume raw milk is to purchase a cow and get the milk from the cow they own. Most people however are not interested in housing and feeding a cow, let alone able to consume the entire milk production from a cow. With a herd-share program families come together and share in the ownership interest of a dairy herd. Per a legal contract the families are then permitted to consume the milk from the dairy herd in a proportion equal to that of their ownership interest (shares owned). The owners of these herd share(s) enlist the services of a professional dairy farmer to care for their herd, milk the cows, and prepare the raw milk production to be accepted by the herd-share owners. Shareholders pay a monthly boarding fee (for us this is $10 per share per week, payable in advance monthly) and pick up their milk once a week or as scheduled to be convenient for both the farmer and the shareholder.
What is the boarding fee for?
The ongoing costs of the program are taken care of through the boarding fees ($10 per share per week) that are billed monthly in advance for the coming month. This is the remuneration to Singletree Farm for our services in taking care of your share of the herd. Because it is a boarding fee and not payment for milk, it is not dependent upon your picking up your milk nor can it be adjusted if you should choose not to get milk for any reason. The agreed upon quantity of milk (based on your ownership in the dairy herd and production levels) will be made available to you each week by the farmer. Boarding fees should be paid by the 5th of each month and can be paid by cash, check, or Venmo @singletreefarm
How much milk will I get for one share in the dairy herd?
Although production levels can vary based on a number of factors, historically one share in the herd tends to receive approximately one gallon of milk per week.
What is the one-time inital fee for?
This initial investment (what we call the “buy-in fee”) is your purchase price into the dairy herd, for our program this is $20 per share. You now have ownership interest in the cows and are entitled to a share of what the herd produces
Do I have to pay for a share every year?
No. The buy-in fee is a one-time purchase. Just like buying stock on the stock market, once you buy it is yours, and you pay just for the upkeep (business costs) of maintaining that share and your dividend is any milk that the herd-share produces. Your only risk is similar to when a business goes bankrupt and the stock becomes void and worthless, if we have an “act of God”/Nature such as a fire, weather event (tornado, etc), serious disease outbreak then that is where you could lose your original herd-share buy-in fee.
What is the farming philosophy at Singletree Farm?
We believe cows belong on grass, in green pasture under the wide sky. We believe in treating our cows like we would like to be treated (you know, if we were cows). We believe we are the stewards of the herd and as such are tasked with creating for them the best possible bovine life. For example, we don’t separate our mother cows from their calves at birth as traditional dairies do, we keep them together until the calf is old enough to be weaned and eat grass alone. We also practice rotational grazing which is good for the land and provides the cows with optimum nutrition. We treat our animals with natural remedies whenever possible. Safety and cleanliness are paramount concerns for us and we take them very seriously. At every step of the process, we take every precaution to ensure the milk we provide is as clean and fresh as possible. Our herd is tested and is free from Bovine Leukemia Virus and Johne’s Disease. We test the milk regularly for bacteria and SCC (somatic cell count).
How long does raw milk last?
Raw milk should last 7-10 days or longer provided there is adequate refrigeration. From the moment our milk is brought in from the cows to the processing room to the moment you pick it up, we maintain proper refrigeration. We recommend you check your fridge temperature at home (we recommend 35 degrees) and use ice packs and a cooler to keep the milk cold during any transport. Think of it as ice cream you don’t want to melt, this is the way it needs handled to ensure safe temperatures.
What if I go in vacation?
If you let us know in advance we can cancel your delivery in the event that you are out of town or you can have a friend or family member pick up your share for you. However, you will still be responsible for paying the full monthly boarding fees even if you cancel a delivery as the cows will still need their usual care even in your absence. Also, please see the question below regarding sharing your raw milk.
What if I forget to pick up my milk?
You have 48 hours from your drop off time to pick up your milk, unless an alternate arrangement has been made. After that your milk will be pulled from the fridge and discarded. If you miss a pick up, and an alternate arrangement has not been made, you forfeit your share of that week’s milk.
How does leaving the herdshare work?
To leave the herdshare, please let us know by the 15th of the month that you’d like to discontinue your membership in the herdshare for the following month (for example, by June 15th if you plan to not continue into July). We will issue a refund for your buy-in fee by within two weeks.
Can I share my milk with friends?
One way to answer this question is “raw milk requires consent.” Is the person you are offering raw milk to under 18 (such as when your child’s friend is over)? If so, they cannot give full informed consent and should not be offered raw milk. If the person is over 18, have you told them the milk you are offering is raw? If not, you shouldn’t offer them the milk. If they have been told the milk is raw and are okay with that then yes, they may be offered raw milk. It’s pretty amazing so you’ll probably want to share! It should be noted however, as per the herdshare agreement, you accept all risk associated with sharing your milk.
OOPS!! I broke/lost a jar! (Also, how the general jar situation works)...
When you pay your buy-in fee you help cover the initial cost of jars. If you should break or lose one it will need replaced and there will be a charge of $2 per jar. You are expected to return jars from the previous pick up that you are done with when you make a new pick up. This ensures we always have enough jars. When you return jars please leave your name taped on lids to mark your jars, or leave them in a paper bag with your name written on it so we can give you credit for returning them. At the end of the month, if there’s still jars missing we reserve the right to charge $2 for each one missing to your next month’s invoice.
IMPORTANT: Please return jars clean (not just rinsed) paying special attention to the threads at the top. Return them in a condition you’d feel comfortable with us giving you your next milk in. All jars are washed and sterilized in our processing room before using for fresh milk but receiving them back clean greatly reduces the time and labor needed to wash them before we do the final wash and sterilization and we appreciate your cooperation in this!