Herd Share Trial Run

December 10, 2013

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has been revising the state rules that apply to raw milk, and the updated rules go into effect December 11.

Black Hills Milk, the dairy farm near Belle Fourche, has been supplying raw milk to customers for several years. Now they must find a new way to deliver raw milk to their loyal customers and still stay in business.

They are considering herd shares. A customer would buy a share of the farm’s Holstein herd and thus bypass the state rules.

Here’s the definition of herd shares from the Campaign for Real Milk website:

“In a cowshare, goatshare, or herdshare agreement, consumers pay a farmer a fee for boarding their cow or goat, (or share of a cow or goat), caring for the cow or goat, and milking the cow or goat. The herdshare owner then obtains (but does not purchase) the milk from his own cow or goat.”

Black Hills Milk owners John and Dawn Habeck sent us this info:

For those still interested in herd shares, we have prepared contracts and information sheets for you to check out. You can e-mail and receive them electronically, or I can send them to you in the mail, or you can pick up copies in the Spearfish store. Breadroot Cooperative has information sheets available as well. I have the final copies done today and they are detailed and self-explanatory if you read all of them.

The problem with downsizing is that any time less milk is sold, fixed costs must be spread over a smaller income. Cows have to eat and have their basic needs met whether milk from them gets paid for or not. The electric bill doesn’t get any smaller at our barn either.

December 2013 will be a trial month for herd shares.  If herd shares do not work in December 2013, the one-time non-refundable herd share fee will be refunded in January 2014. Otherwise, they will continue until June or July 2014, and the herd share fee will not be refunded. After July 2014 shareholders would need to purchase their own cow or find another raw milk source.

We are hoping for several people in a wide variety of areas to start up herd shares. There are a few who have started already. We will update you whenever we have solid info on this. We know of a great Jersey herd in Sturgis that has cows available if anyone is interested.

Anyone interested in herd shares can contact the Habecks at jdhabeck@mato.com.

The Rapid City Journal has more on the new rules and how they affect Black Hills Milk. You can read it here.

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Black Hills Milk Shifts to Herd Shares

October 13, 2013

By October 31 Black Hills Milk, the Belle Fourche dairy farm, will no longer sell raw milk in its Spearfish store or at Breadroot Co-op in Rapid City. State raw milk rules, shifting weather patterns, and cows currently not giving much milk have led to this decision.

As an alternative to city deliveries of raw milk, owners Dawn and John Habeck are offering herd shares. Individuals can buy a share of the Habeck Holstein herd and receive a share of the milk produced. Since people are, in effect, getting raw milk from their own cows, state rules governing the raw milk do not apply.

The Habecks will be selling some of their Holstein cows to people who can care for them on their own property and set up their own herd shares.

For those who wish to purchase high quality milk not produced in mega-barns, milk from the Burbach Farm is available at Dakota Thyme restaurant at Main Street Square in Rapid City. Dean and Lisa Burbach run a family farm in Hartington, Nebraska. The milk is pasteurized and homogenized on the farm and sold in returnable glass bottles. Their cows do not receive artificial hormones.

The Burbachs are now bottling non-homogenized milk for Black Hills Milk. It is available at the BHM usual outlets for $4 a half-gallon plus a $2 bottle deposit.

For more information contact Dawn Habeck at jdhabeck@mato.com or 605-645-9329.


Black Hills Goat Dairy

March 8, 2013

Black Hills Goat Dairy
Custer, SD
Contact:Lila Streff

Licensed and family-owned dairy providing raw goats milk. Available for purchase on Thursdays in the parking lot of Breadroot Co-op, 130 Main Street, in Rapid City. Advanced orders are recommended but not required. Advanced orderes accepted until noon Thursday.

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Black Hills Milk

February 23, 2013

Black Hills Milk
John & Dawn Habeck
Belle Fourche, SD

Selling raw milk, local cheese, organic eggs, and grass-fed beef. Two locations to serve you better!

-Rapid City at the Breadroot Co-op (look for them in the back of the store) on Tuesdays 9-6, Thursdays 12-6 and Saturdays 9-6.

-Spearfish at the red farmers market barn next to the Crow Peak Brewery. Open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am-6pm.


Black Hills Milk Now Sold at Breadroot Co-op

December 8, 2012
Dawn and John Habeck

Dawn and John Habeck speak to a group of supporters at a recent fundraising event.


Black Hills Milk, the only remaining dairy farm selling cows milk in our area, continues to provide local milk despite multiple setbacks. Owner Dawn Habeck is now selling her raw milk and grass-finished beef at the Breadroot Co-op, 130 Main Street, in Rapid City. The milk will be available from 9 am to 6 pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Milk customers should enter Breadroot from Main Street and go to the back room sales area. The Breadroot board has offered Dawn this space at no charge.

Breadroot Co-op sells organic foods sourced locally and elsewhere. Members get a discount, but you do not have to be a member to purchase their produce, bulk grains, and other products. You can read more about Breadroot here.

For more on the history of milk sales in West River click here and here.


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