Here’s an edited version of a recent email from Gordon Watson from British Columbia:
I am very happy to hear that the Dykes are thinking about producing sheep’s milk for the Vancouver market. I will help them in every way, to get something going with it. In the Milk Industry Act the term “cattle”, milk from which is caught by the Act, is defined as bovine and caprine = cows and goats. Thus, sheep are categorically EXcluded from the laws to do with raw milk for human consumption.
For Home on the Range to offer sheep milk for sale = NOT via a share in the flock is the ideal way for making the point that dairying to obtain REAL MILK can be done safely. As long as you keep all the paperwork in order ( more or less! ) with the shareholders in the herd, there is nothing to prevent you simply brokering the sheep milk.
There is a market for everything. Whole raw fresh sheep milk from animals raised organically, will sell but probably at a significantly high price. I would guess it will have to be around $10 per quart = 32 fluid ounces, by the time it gets to the consumer. Of course, the farmer will not get all of that because “the money is in the delivery”.
I can go ’round to all the health food stores / delicatessens / ethnic specialty food stores, etcetera as the sales rep. Sheep’s milk is such a specialty item that it would be important to some stores as a “prestige” item. As with the raw apple juice, years ago, we put it in stores on consignment then took away what didn’t sell within a week. It was marginally profitable because we didn’t have the volume. But it was the right way to do it, in terms of getting the very best product on the shelf.
That works for raw sheep’s milk, too, unsold milk can thereafter go into cheese.
With the REAL MILK from cows, I expect it to pay off for you in the not-too-distant future = Home on the Range being able to buy a farm. But there is no ‘big money’ in sheep’s milk. At best, it will be an ongoing way for the farmer to make a decent living, and enhance your prestige as a supplier of high-end food products.
Sheeps’ milk has great potential as the way to do “immune milk” without being entangled with the Milk Marketing Board / the College of Physicians and the Powers-that-Be
Please let me know the minute there is some REAL MILK flowing from the sheepies.
Gordon S Watson