Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making a Pound of Goats' Cheese

 You Need a Barn/Dairy
Any rough ideas what it takes to make a pound of goats' cheese?  I get this question quite often.  Here are some very general responses, all of which would have to be seriously adjusted for your operation size, scope, scale, location, minimum wage, etc.

1.   Must have Drive, Passion, Ambition, Determination, and a love of good food.

2.  You need a ship load of cash (&/or credit) because a boat load simply is not enough.

3.  You will need a barn/dairy, and dairy goats
(start with at least $100,000 here)

4.  You will need a way to milk the goats
Yep, Twice a Day
(start with $2000 here-will depend on the system/size/etc.  Can go over $50,000 too.)

5.  A way to store/cool/refrigerate the milk ($500 and up, WAY up depending on volume)

6.  Feed for the goats (this is about $2 per goat per day and climbing by the week)

7.  Labor to make it all happen.  This will depend on your area, how many employees, & minimum wage reference for your state.  We average about $20/hour here when all the government taxes get added.  I sure wish all of that could go to the employees.

8.  Add in licenses, inspections, registrations, regulations......

This will get you goat's milk.  Current cost of production is about $15 per gallon of milk collected.  OK, we do feed quite well and pay our employees well, but we think they all deserve it and are well worth it.

OH, you wanted to make CHEESE!!!  Well then.........For starters, it takes about 1 gallon of milk to make one pound of cheese. Ready, Set, GO!

9.  Add in your dairy facility and equipment ($50,000 ++++.  Depends on your volume and scale)

10.  Cheesemaking supplies (about $4000+++ per year-volume dependent)

11.  Cheesemaker Labor (yep, $20/hr, area dependent)

Creative Storage
12.  Places to store and age the cheese (easily $5000)3





OH, you wanted to SELL the cheese!!!!!!!

13.  More regulators, farmers markets, fees, tolls, taxes--hefty bills here.

Love Our Market Customers
14.  A vehicle to deliver and go to markets in.  Add in fuel, insurance, etc.

15.  Employee labor (yep, back to that $20/hr)

16.  Farmers markets tent, coolers, table props ($400 minimally)

Even if you are doing the chores and markets yourself, aren't you worth at least what you pay your employees?  You are!  But sadly, we don't (aka generally can't) pay it that way.

So why do we keep coming back year after year?  See Item #1.  It is a lifestyle choice we just feel compelled to do.

Goats' Milk Cheeses
 So now, you tell me...What is that Pound of Goats' Cheese Worth??

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I like how you explain the reality of dairy and cheese production in a very simple to understand format. Operating a farm takes a huge commitment of time and money. It's not an easy occupation but one that requires a real passion and love for animals and the farm "lifestyle".

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  2. Thanks Dairy Mom. I know you "get this" loud and clear. Yes, we do genuinely love our animals and what we do. Lifestyle choices=priceless. Well, most days anyway.
    Rhonda

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