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How Can I Start a Dairy Farm?

Do you want to start a dairy farm? It’s not an easy industry to get into, especially for people who are starting from square one. However, if owning dairy cows has been a dream of yours, you shouldn’t let anyone stop you. At Sun Farmer’s Group, we’ve been lucky enough to meet dairy farming professionals across the United States and know a thing or two about what goes into a successful operation. You can think of this article as a guide on how to start a dairy farm for beginners. Although we won’t cover everything, this should be a good introduction into the world of dairy farming. 

Plan Your Dairy Farm Business

Unless this is a passion project if yours, we can assume that you intend to make money off of your dairy farm. Dairy farming, like any other business, needs a solid business plan to be successful. That includes identifying your key objectives, strategies, market analysis, financial projections, and more. Furthermore, you will need to develop the skills necessary to run a dairy farming operation. Whether this is working under a local dairy farmer or gleaning knowledge from a family member, having a mentor is key.

Obtain Your Permitting

Once your business plan and baseline knowledge is in order, you will need to make sure you have your legal boxes checked off. Dairy farming and the sale and purchase of cow’s milk is regulated on both the federal and state level. Before you begin, you will need to make sure you have the proper licensing and permitting so that you are operating safely and legally. These documents will also be needed to comply with routine inspections to avoid fines or potentially being forced to halt your operations. 

Purchase Land

You can’t have a dairy farm without a piece of land. The good news here is that you do not need to have as much land as you think. You will need to research your local area and take into account the quality of the land, average rate of precipitation, and overall goals to determine how much acreage you will need for your desired maximum number of cows. Keep in mind that ranching is different and will require far more acreage than a typical modern dairy operation. If you want to learn more about intensive and extensive farming differences, you can read our article “Is Dairy Farming Intensive or Extensive”?

Get Your Cow Farm Equipment Squared Away

Modern dairy farming requires a lot of equipment. The milking equipment, refrigeration, ventilation, tanks, feeding machines, and more take time and resources to purchase and set up. This is where it pays to have an experienced mentor in your corner to help you with a purchase list and to know how to set everything up correctly. If you are starting off without any help, contact a farming equipment supplier nearby and ask for help and to get together a list. 

Purchase Dairy Cows

It might seem obvious, but it begs mentioning. You will need to source and purchase dairy cows if you want your dairy farm to be successful. The breed, health, and size of the cows should all be considered before buying one. The Holstein cow, known for its iconic black and white spotted pattern, is the quintessential dairy producing cow and is responsible for the majority of milk consumed in the world. However, some cows, such as the Jersey cow, have a reputation for yielding a higher quality of milk. At the end of the day, you will need to make sure you research which cow breeds will fit best on your farm. 

Marketing & Sales

At this point, you can refer back to your initial business plan for your dairy farm. Like any business, you will need to come up with a marketing and sales plan for your product. This might include coming up with branding for your farm, social media posting, traditional marketing, and more. Additionally, you will need to get plugged into the dairy communities in your area to learn more about the supply chain and preferred vendors and buyers. This can be a difficult step in the process. Find what makes your product unique and different from other farms in the area and lean into that when marketing your farm as a seller. 

Implement Environmental Impact Systems

A dairy farm can cause a significant impact on the local environment, especially if the scale of the operation is significant. Investing in manure processing systems and water recycling can both minimize your emissions and save you money in the long run with sustainable solutions. As a primarily intensive farming operation, dairy farms use a tremendous amount of non-renewable resources to power their ventilation, refrigeration, and other complex systems. This costs farmers an extraordinary amount of capital monthly. Implementing solar energy is the only way to take that growing expense and eventually eliminate it altogether, putting more money in your pocket and boosting your dairy farming profits. 

The Sun Farmer’s Group Difference

Sun Farmer’s Group is the first true turnkey solution for agricultural solar energy. Our proprietary program has brought all of the in-house expertise to the table in grant writing, financing, tax credit monetization, installation, and so much more. Unlike other companies, Sun Farmer’s Group empowers farmers with a no-money down solution that greatly reduces and eventually eliminates your power bill altogether. The future of dairy farming is as bright as the sun, and we’ll help you turn it into power!

Get In Touch

If you’re ready to learn more about how Sun Farmer’s Group can help you put more money in your pocket, call 877-417-3222 today!

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