Small-scale and home dairy farming is an important part of many homesteads and family farms. After years of decline, small dairy operations are making a comeback, due largely to the growing popularity of pasture-based and raw dairy products. A single cow can greatly increase a family’s self sufficiency through the production of dairy products, as well as calves that can be sold, raised for meat (steers) or added to the dairy operation (heifers).
Home Dairy Farming
The home dairy brings with it a large measure of self-reliance and sustainablilty, but also a measure of sacrifice and dedication. Jersey cows, popular for small-scale and grass-based operations, need to be milked at least once a day, every day, when producing milk. Some farms milk twice a day, but all cows need at least one daily milking. The milk must be filtered, chilled and stored immediately after milking and something must be done with the bounty, whether it is consumed, made into butter and cheese, or sold.
Family Milk Cows
Family milk cows provide an excellent source of protein and fat and other essential nutrients, in the form of milk and cream. They are considered the cornerstone of many family farms and homesteads.
Home Cheese Making
Making cheese at home is an excellent way to preserve milk from the family cow, as well as enjoy delicious and nurturing dairy products throughout the year. In many states, homemade cheeses may be sold directly to consumers, adding another income stream to the family homestead.