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Starting a NY Farmstead Dairy Operation

State Requirements for getting a small farmstead dairy operation licensed in New York state.

Notes from an October 2005 presentation by Linda Smith of Sherman Hill Farmstead.

Linda and her daughter Morgan own and operate a 40-head dairy goat farm and creamery. Linda has owned goats for over 30 years, shipped milk from 1988 to 1993 and has been making cheese since 1993.

  1. Barn - inspected every 6 months

    • limited manure pack
    • healthy animals
    • no other species co-mingled

  2. Milk parlor - easiest to construct

    • concrete floor - smooth surface (doesn't need to be perfect)
    • floor drain
    • washable walls and ceiling - plywood, wafer boards, etc.
    • use a high quality oil base white paint
    • adequate lights - inexpensive fixture are fine - near milking areas
    • concrete, PVC plastic, metal milk stands or stanchions - your choice
    • doors usually open out - automatic use a bungy
    • floor drain - goes to dry well
    • water source - water tested every 6 months - wells or municipal preferred. To remedy: ultraviolet light or chlorinator. If in doubt, sample water before you begin all this.
    • machine milking - your choice of type (hand milking is still allowed)
    • - be aware of state guidelines, but check with others using a pipeline. Do not use the state's 1-1/2" recommendation.

  3. Milk House - Except for bulk tank, this room can be very basic. You will need drawings showing the perimeter, floor drain, sink, etc. This can be a sketch with dimensions (rather than a blueprint).

    • concrete floor, with floor drain
    • perimeter should be block - hopefully creates a seal with floor
    • floor drain - located near valve on a bulk tank
    • 2 bay sink for wash-yup should be big enough for milk pail
    • hand wash sink
    • size the milk house to center bulk tank with 3' clearance on each side
    • lights - over wash-up sink protected lights over bulk tank "shatter-proof"
    • source for hot water - 40 - 50 gal. hot water tank is usually adequate

      • Electricity - most costly
      • Gas
      • Oil allows a heat source for cheese house and will be most efficient.

    • racks to store milking units etc.
    • walls need to be painted and washable
    • don't forget milk strainer

      • nice to have a claw washer, automatic washer for milking unit
      • use appropriate cleaning supplies and Chlorox

    • doors and windows - tight, with screens
    • double-walled - insulation helps
    • bulk tank: 100 - 200 gal. tanks are hard to find. 300 gal. works but you'll need enough milk to make the agitator work.

  4. Cheese House

    • concrete floor
    • floor drain
    • block between floor and walls
    • washable walls, bright paint
    • 3-bay sink
    • hand sink
    • tight doors and windows -- goOd ventilation for moisture control
    • placement of lights - over sink, work area, and/if pasteurizer
    • coolers or refrigerators
    • must be double walled, insulation important
    • pasteurizer:

      • recorder
      • recording thermometer
      • air space thermometer
      • size
      • new or used

    • air space heater for pasteurizer - hot plate with pressure canner
    • Delvo test for antibiotics (even if you do not use antibiotics on your farm)
    • Equipment - your choice, stainless
    • transfer pump - move milk
    • extras:

      • bulk tank for cooling purposes
      • air conditioner
      • aging room
      • storage room
      • product liability insurance
      • labels
State inspections
    1. Every month the inspector samples your milk and two tests are run: somatic cell count (SCC) and standard plate count (SPC)

    2. Cheeses are sampled:

      • to prove pasteurization (unless aged for at least 60 days under required conditions)
      • to test for E. coli, listeriosis, etc.
Raw Milk Licensing Requirements:
    1. Lower SCC (somatic cell count)
    2. Lower SPC (Standard Plate Count) g 30,000
    3. Visit from Quality Control
    4. Brucellosis and TB Testing

Things to think about:

Physical proximity to each other
    • Parlor close to animals - less handling of animals in/out arrangement is helpful
    • Milk house and cheese house - close to each other means less handling of milk
    • If they are distant, you'll need a tank for moving milk.

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