Utah Goat and Cow Share Bill


Take a Look at the Utah Goat and Cow Share Program

HB104   was passed into law in 2015, thanks to some hard working people who care about Utahans being able to obtain raw milk and raw milk products, without the producer having to put in an expensive licensed dairy.   My State Representative Marc Roberts and State Senate Representative Mark Madsen were instrumental, with the help of many people helping and supporting HB104, to get it passed.  I regret to say that I was not a part of this process, as I didn’t even find out about it until Feb 2016!  However, Northern Dawn is so happy about this new Bill.

Northern Dawn is participating in HB104 program

We at Northern Dawn have raised quality dairy goats since 2009.  Our goal is to provide for the consumer:

  • Quality miniature dairy goats with conformation and udder conformation that will stand by you through thick and thin
  • Provide long term milkers for milk consumers or people purchasing goats from us
  • Easy to milk and easy kidders
  • Dairy Herd Improvement Milk records to substantiate what our does do year after year, generation after generation
  • Work to get a program together where we at Northern Dawn can provide raw milk consumers access to our nutritious high quality raw milk and raw milk products

For around the past four years, we at Northern Dawn have been working with the Utah State Department of Agriculture, off and on, to find out what the current milk safety requirements are.  We have also been working with them to find out how to legalize a Raw to Retail Dairy in Utah.  The Utah Department of Agriculture has been most helpful.  Still, that system that is in place for a Raw to Retail Dairy didn’t hold exactly what we were looking for.  Also we didn’t have the money to put in the facility that was require.   Thus, we were stumped and stalled. 

The current Utah Dairy Act does not allow for people to sell raw milk off the farm and no transportation of milk by the producer or producer’s agent, unless the dairy owns at least 51% of an off-farm retail store.  Of course, that wouldn’t happen in our case.  We at Northern Dawn believe in the nutrition of raw milk.  The current Raw to Retail Dairy act doesn’t allow for sale of soft cheese or yogurt from raw milk.  So, again, we were stumped.

Northern Dawn just discovered HB104; the Utah Goat (Cow and Sheep) Share program that was passed in 2015.  We love this Bill and are in the process of implementing it as we blog this post.  Our system is planned to include in-house bacteria and plate count testing, and we have done Somatic Cell Count testing for years.  Those are important factors in producing quality raw milk. We are going to be finishing up our new mini-dairy and mini-milk product facility this spring.  We also hold and plan to continue to hold a valid Utah Food Handler’s Permit.  This is something required if we had decided to become a licensed Raw to Retail Utah Dairy.  We will implement a simple milk cooling system to cool the milk to Raw to Retail Dairy standards or higher.  Quick cooling is necessary for long term  good tasting milk.  We look forward to working with a local outside lab, as well.  Through the Goat Share Bill (HB104), we will be able to provide quality raw milk and raw milk products to a small number of consumers. We are currently working closely with the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund to create this system for us.

Through the Utah Goat Share program, we at Northern Dawn look forward to sharing with you, the consumer our quality raw milk and milk products. Then when HB144 (or similar) Bill for Utah Food Freedom is passed, we will go full force to share more products with you; the consumer.

A special thank you to those who made this all possible.

Secure Your Goat Share

We have six Shares that will be left available.  Email us at    trunkbranches(at)yahoo(dot)com    to secure your share.  This will allow you to obtain quality raw milk and soon some raw milk cheeses, yogurt and kefir. Put      Secure Goat Share       in the subject line of the email you send us at Northern Dawn. We are in the process of setting up our legal Goat Share program, currently.

So What is HB104 Bill Anyway?

Lets look at what HB104 (Utah Goat Share says for you the consumer and me the producer)

General Description:
9          This bill modifies the Utah Dairy Act by removing a prohibition on cow-sharing
10     programs.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     modifies definitions;
14          ▸     removes the prohibition on owning, operating, organizing, or otherwise
15     participating in a cow-share program where the milk producing hoofed animal is
16     located in Utah;
17          ▸     states that the Utah Dairy Act does not apply to milk or milk products produced on
18     the farm if the milk or milk products are consumed by participants in a cow-share
19     program;
20          ▸     states that the Department of Agriculture and Food may not adopt rules restricting
21     an individual’s ability to transfer or obtain:
22               •     raw milk in accordance with the terms of a cow-share agreement; or
23               •     an interest in a cow-share program in accordance with the terms of the
24     cow-share program agreement;

  (2) “Cow-share program” means a program in which a person acquires an undivided
69     interest in a milk producing hoofed mammal through an agreement with a producer that
70     includes:
71          (a) a bill of sale for an interest in the mammal;
72          (b) a boarding arrangement under which the person boards the mammal with the
73     producer for the care and milking of the mammal and the boarding arrangement and bill of sale
74     documents remain with the program operator; [and]
75          (c) an arrangement under which the person receives raw milk for personal
76     [consumption.] use not to be sold or distributed in a retail environment or for profit; and
77          (d) no more than two cows, 10 goats, and 10 sheep per farm in the program.
78          (3) “Dairy product” means any product derived from raw or pasteurized milk.

Summarizing HB104 Information Above

  • We are not subject to the Utah Dairy Act.
  • We can provide not only raw milk to a share holder, but also raw milk products
  • Currently we are only allowed to have 10 of our goats on the share program
  • Basically you hold a limited share in the Northern Dawn herd .  This gives you the ability to obtain the milk and milk products and we at Northern Dawn still own the controlling interest and manage the herd.
  • You, the consumer, pay a small initial fee to secure your limited share.  Then you pay a fee for boarding the animal that is the same as the amount you would be paying per gallon of milk etc.  This allows you to obtain raw milk and milk products that you would not necessarily be able to obtain though the Raw to Retail Licensed Dairy program
  • If at anytime you choose to longer participate in the program with us, we would simply buy your share back.

Northern Dawn in the Goat Share Program

As mentioned above, we are in the process of setting up our legal Goat Share Program.  We plan to have our facility meet the Raw to Retail Standards, plus go above and beyond some of those standards in cooling to Grade A standards. 

At any time, you as the share holder are welcome to come out and visit and play with the goats.  Come view the records that we will hold soon on bacteria, etc.

We would like to become a teaching facility, too, where we can show people how to become more self-sufficient.

Secure Your Goat Share Position

We have six Shares left available.  Email us at    trunkbranches(at)yahoo(dot)com    to secure your share.  This will allow you to obtain quality raw milk and soon some raw milk cheeses, yogurt and kefir. Put      Secure Goat Share       in the subject line of the email you send us at Northern Dawn. We are in the process of setting our legal Goat Share program, currently.



Testing Safety of Raw Milk


I’ve been raising dairy goats for the production of raw milk for myself and family at Northern Dawn Nigerians, since 2009.  Growing up as a kid we always had milk cows for family use.  Over the years we have evolved from more primitive milking techniques and milking outside, to milking in a milk barn.  Always sanitation has been an important part of the procedure, as much sanitation as possible under our circumstances.

The last few years I’ve been searching for a way to test my milk, so that I would have a good way to know the quality of my milk. Also part of my reasoning for wanting to test my milk on a regular basis, is so that I can see where my program weak points are and what I can improve.  This is the year when I will implement the changes to my dairy program.

Since about 2010 we have done monthly milk testing on our does in milk through the Dairy Herd Improvement program.  In this program, our milk is tested for butterfat, protein and somatic cell count.  All these are very valuable.  Butterfat and protein have a lot to do with the taste and usability of the milk.  Somatic Cell Count is white blood cell count. A high SCC can mean the presence of infection or mastitis, or it might not.  But its a good place to start looking for problems if it is high test after test.  It can also be simply that the doe is in heat.  LOL

My mind is a scientific one, where I ask the whys, whats, wheres, hows, how come?  I want to know, and not to just blindly assume all is ok.  All too often I hear, “Oh, raw milk is safe.  People know how to produce it safely.”  Do we?  Some of us do and some of us don’t.  I’m working on a program to efficiently and cost effectively test my milk on a regular basis.

Finding a Series Article that May Well Be the Answers I have Saught

A friend of mine who owns a licensed cheese dairy in Oregon has and continues to write articles that are both stimulating and packed with knowledge.  Here are a few of her articles that I just found:






Testing Basic Quality of Milk

There are two tests that Gianaclis and the California Herd Share Association suggest as tests for the quality of our milk. They are basic tests.  One can get the tests done at a lab which tests, or do it at your home.  I am planning on setting up a mini lab at my little diary to test, and then also use a certified lab or professional microbologist at time to further test.  The two basic tests that Gianalis and the California Herd Share Association list are:

  1. Standard Plate Count (SPC or APC).  So what is that, exactly? What is it going to show me?  That was my first question.  SPC is a count of all gram-positive colony forming bacteria.  It shows the number of bacteria that grow in the presence of oxygen (aerobically) and at medium range (mesophilic) tempertaures.   So who cares?  It can pinpoint that there is maybe a sanitation problem and where the problem exist.  It could suggest that specific bacteria tests should be done.  Note the tests that Gianaclis did on several dairies, who used different procedures to handle their milk.
  2. Coliform. A test for coliform suggests the number of Coliform present in the milk.  One of the family of coliform is e-coli.
  3. I would suggest that another good test is Somatic Cell Count.  One can get your milk tested for this through labs, Dairy Herd Improvement Milk testing labs currently seem to be charging $1.15 per sample.  In the article What is Somatic Cell Count, it talks about reasons for high somatic cell count that could be: ”
    • Age – Older cows tend to have more cells present in their milk, while younger have less

    • Stage of lactation – Cows producing less milk and are later in their lactation have less cells present

    • Stress – A cow that is more stressed will show higher SCC

    • Season – SCC levels usually are lowest in a clean, dry, comfortable environment. Wet or humid weather will elevate cell counts. Generally SCC is higher in the winter

    • Udder injury – an injury, cut, etc. would temporarily elevate the number of cells until the cow heals.

    • Indirect causes – poor milking procedures, or poor udder hygiene are examples of indirect factors that can contribute to higher SCC”

    I’ve found higher somatic cell count to also be present when a doe is in heat or also if on Once a Day Milking (OAD).

So how can we test for these things?

  • certified labs
  • Home lab tests like the ones that Gianaclis mentions for SPC, Coliform, e-coli, etc
  • Somatic Cell Count can also be tested at Dairy Herd Improvement labs

Self Testing

Gianaclis lists the company she uses for obtaining the the easy to use test plates and incubator.    Some of the products she lists in her above articles are:




One could also use some of the other tests like e-coli and listeria, as well.

Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria in Raw Milk

Raw milk has lactic acid producing bacteria which fight against the ‘bad bugs’ or bad bacteria.  However, if the proper sanitization and fast cooling of fluid milk for good taste and to keep the bad bugs out, this can be a problem.  Proper handling of milk produces a wonderful ‘real whole food’ for our bodies that does amazingly good things for our bodies.