Raw Milk Producers Manual

2011 Annual Report for ONE11-147

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2011: $8,563.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Winton Pitcoff

Raw Milk Producers Manual


The information gathering stage of this project to develop a raw milk producers’ manual is well under way. Discussions with Massachusetts raw milk farmers have yielded a long list of questions and items that are helping to inform the content of the manual. The lead writer and photographer have conducted site visits to all three participating farms, recording in text and images the processes each farm employs to produce, bottle and sell raw milk.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  • To date, we have:

    Reviewed existing relevant materials.
    Conducted survey of all Massachusetts raw milk dairies.
    Developed outline for manual.
    Visited three dairies and observed, photographed and recorded milking, bottling and sales procedures.
    Begun writing manual.


Farmer response to the survey, where we asked for questions and ideas for what the manual should include, was good. Respondents were enthusiastic about the project. Interestingly, while most said that such a manual is needed to help alleviate problems caused by inconsistencies in the current system of inspections and regulations, others expressed concern that the manual would be used to impose a new, strict set of rules and eliminate the flexibility that some inspectors exercise when dealing with different farms.

The site visits to the three farms were excellent. The farmers gave us total access and spent hours answering questions. Our choice of farms turned out to be exactly what we had hoped for – a range of sizes, management styles and methods. Seeing that each farm uses different methods to produce, bottle and sell milk was what we expected, but also poses some challenges in writing the manual. We need to make sure that the publication reflects the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ method for producing safe, clean raw milk. We hope to reflect that by illustrating as many methods as possible for each step of the process.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Since we are only now beginning the writing process, impacts and outcomes are limited. We have noticed, however, an increase in the number of farmers and potential farmers who have contacted us in the last year expressing an interest in such a publication. In light of this, we feel that demand for the manual continues to be strong, and we are looking forward to the publishing and dissemination process.


Kathleen Geary

Administrative Director
411 Sheldon Road
Barre, MA 01005
Office Phone: 9783552853