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Raw Goat Milk & Dairy Goats

I have raised raw goat milk and dairy goats in my suburban St. Louis, Missouri  backyard since 1993.  That's a long time and my backyard goats and chickens have provided a lot of enjoyment and inspiration for people throughout the area.  I demonstrate goat milking at the end of my cheesemaking classes.  However, I do NOT currently sell the milk.  Here is the information on buying raw milk in Missouri.  Other websites list people who sell raw goat milk or raw cow milk.  Some raw sheep milk is available in Missouri but not much.

Raw goat milk, cow milk, sheep milk, etc, is completely legal for you to buy in the state of Missouri.  It always has been so.  Mo. Statute # 196.935, the "Fluid Milk Law", states that " Only pasteurized graded milk may be sold at a grocery store, soda fountain, restaurant, or similar establishment, with the exception that an individual may buy and have delivered for his own use, raw milk and cream from a farm."  The fluid milk law doesn't mention cheese or other products because it does not regulate those products.  It is only about fluid milk.

The exceptions mentioned in the law are: 

1.  Graded milk is sold commercially, raw milk (ungraded) is sold to individuals.
2.  Pasteurized milk is sold to restaurants, grocery stores, etc., raw milk is not.
3.  An individual may buy raw milk for his own use directly from the farm where it is produced.
4.  An individual may have raw milk delivered to a drop off point, to be picked up by the person it was intended for.  Some states restrict delivery of raw milk, but not Missouri.
5.  In Missouri you may buy raw milk whether goat milk, cow milk, sheep milk, etc.
6.  In Missouri you may buy raw cream which has been skimmed from the milk.  Some other states do not allow the cream to be sold seperately.

This law is very ideal as it stands, from the standpoint of the citizens, both buyers and the producers of raw milk.  In 2007 there was some argument about it, but in Feb. 2008 the Missouri Milk Board re-defined in writing to the producers that the law stands firm and raw milk sales are allowed in Missouri, as the law says so clearly.  Because of the discussions that year, there is now a lot of documentation, both written and verbal, confirming the validity and strength of this law.

The Missouri "Fluid Milk Law" does not govern or even mention cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream or other products.  This law neither prohibits nor allows those other products.  It only regards fluid milk.  Those other products are covered by other statutes and regulations.


Goats waiting for milking, Merryl Winstein's backyard dairy herd, St. Louis, MO

I have raised dairy goats since 1993.

Here is the way I run my herd:  All my adult goats have a written record of how much milk was given at every milking, going back for years. My does are calm, easy to catch, love to be petted, and jump up on the milk stand happily.  That is due to my training, and also due to their genetics.  Goofy neurotic goats who can't learn to be led or to jump up on their milk stand and stand still instead of bucking, or don't give an exceptional amount of great tasting milk, are not ones I want.  All are dehorned and it goes without saying that out of consideration for my neighbors, all my goats must be nearly silent.  This means I have lost many otherwise perfect goats due to noise of an "average" level, I would say about 40% of the goats I have raised so carefully have been a loss to me because of my care for my neighborhood and neighbors regarding noise. Some of my animals are registered, some are not.  The saanens give long steady lactations, sometimes of 2 years.  There are NO abcesses in my herd.

If you think all dairies should be exclusively "grass-fed" you should look out your window on a snowy Missouri day, or a scorching summer day, and ponder how much grass is out there to turn into a gallon of milk daily.  What you feed your goats depends on how much milk they give or you expect, how much land you have, and what is growing on that land. 

For more info on raising dairy goats, look at fiascofarms.com .  



Saanen giving long lactation, lots of milk, Merryl Winstein, St. Louis, MO