About Our Dairy
"We genuinely take pride in the health and comfort of our dairy cows. At Natural Farm Fresh, we deeply care about their individual well-being. We take to heart that without them and their good health, our family would have no livelihood."
We started bottling July 2010, due to customer demand & previous excellent dairy reputation in Idaho
Prior to our raw milk license, we had a great reputation in Idaho for consistently producing high quality milk. We continue to do so for our raw milk customers today. It is our goal at Natural Farm Fresh to make raw milk affordable to anyone wanting to make healthy choices and to purchase pure wholesome products.
Due to customer demand, we began selling Natural Farm Fresh raw milk in July 2010. Natural Farm Fresh is licensed by the State of Idaho to produce raw milk. We are regularly inspected by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for milk quality, cleanliness and pathogens. Our raw milk permit requires specialized barns, equipment and sanitation standards for bottling raw milk. Beware that herd-share or small-herd exemption operations do not have to meet Grade A dairy requirements for facilities and equipment. Know where your food comes from and how it is handled.
We also do not bottle milk from any dairy other than our own. Our family has worked hard to become a licensed raw milk producer, selling ISDA inspected, licensed grade A quality raw milk directly to you and your family.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture performs testing of our milk for e-coli and bacterial levels. Did you know milk quality cleanliness for raw milk producers are stricter than for pasteurized products? Another requirements of obtaining a raw milk license is to have all of our cows tested for tuberculosis (TB) annually. All of our cows have passed this testing.
Our milk is chilled to 38-degrees Fahrenheit in less than a minute after being milked!
Our milk is bottled in a clean and sanitary environment and chilled to 38-degrees Fahrenheit in less than one minute after being milked from a cow, keeping it very fresh. Not all raw milk producers have this ability to chill their raw milk in under a minute! We advise storing our milk at 38-degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have already tried our milk, I'm sure you have noticed it to have a sweet fresh taste. We are committed to feeding healthy cows and in return we gain wholesome fresh tasting milk. We have worked hard to get this wholesome product on the shelves for you and your family to enjoy and benefit from.
About Our Herd
All our cows are born and raised here at our dairy under our care. We are a closed dairy, meaning all our cows must be born here. For this reason, we have managed and eliminated many diseases that other dairies may face.
Our herd is composed of Holstein, Jersey, Norwegian Red and Brown Swiss. About 10% of our cows are Jersey, Norwegian Red and Brown Swiss. We do have more crossbreeds planned to be born in the future. Currently our milk is 3.85% butterfat and 3.12% protein. These levels do change depending on time of year and their feed rations.
Environmentally Friendly Dairy Farm
Did you also know we are an environmentally friendly dairy farm? We recycle and compost the city of Boise’s leaves at our dairy every fall. About 95 truck-loads of leaves were delivered to us last fall. A truck load equals approx. 120 yards. What was once city waste, we can use as compost to enrich the soil in our fields for crops, a very good environmental practice.
We have adopted no-till and low-till crop practices to make us more energy efficient and we compost our manure. We also practice crop rotations in our fields to better the health of the soil. We converted the farm to center-pivot irrigation in 2000, where the sprinklers go in a circle, always irrigating. It’s a more efficient use of irrigation water because we can control the mount of water used and reduce soil erosion.
We have been working towards sustainability of our herd. We have downsized in cattle numbers to around 380 milking cows. This has allowed us to grow all our own feed for our cows here on our family farm and reduce the need to purchase feed for our cows outside of our farm. We want to focus on having a quality product long-term, rather than a larger quantity in the short-term.
We are well-known for being one of the Best and Cleanest dairies in the state of Idaho
You will find our dairy to be very clean, all year round. Our dairy is well-known for being one of the best and cleanest dairies within the state of Idaho, even before we offered raw milk to the public. Our cows here at Natural Farm Fresh are treated ethically.
Our cows have large, clean open pens with a lot of room to walk around. You will never find them over crowded or standing knee deep in their manure. They always have access to sunlight and fresh air. During the winter months, they have access to a roof over their head for protection from the weather. This also allows us to keep them warm and dry during the cold wet winters. During the hot summer months, they can refresh themselves and keep cool as they please in our overhead sprinkler misters.
Exceptional Record Keeping
We also have exceptional record keeping of each cow at our dairy. We track every event in our cows’ lives. We know when she is born, when she's had veterinarian checks and why, and know when she has had her vaccinations. We also monitor each cows estrus cycle, how much feed she has consumed and her feed rations. Good record keeping of each individual cow allows us to best individually respond to each animal’s needs.
At our dairy, we are also able to keep track of how much milk each cow gives at every milking. If levels from a particular cow are down, we are alerted to check her for any health issues.
Dairy Feed Raised on our Farm / Knowledgeable Licensed Animal Nutritionist Present
We feed our cows twice daily with a plant-based diet supported from the advice of a licensed animal nutritionist that works for us. It is our nutritionists’ job to keep our animals healthy and happy. Milking cows have higher energy requirements to maintain healthy body weights, immune systems and milk supplies. Because of these reasons, we are not a grass fed dairy. We take the responsibility to feed our cows a healthy, well-balanced and consistent diet all-year-round, and in return our milk quality and flavor is also consistent. Our cows are fed primarily plant forages and dry hay that we raise on our farm along with a mineral mix. We are proud of how healthy they are and the quality of milk they produce.
Many dairy cows may lose weight during the early stages of lactation due to energy requirements even with the best nutrition. If dairy cattle are not given the proper nutrition they need, they can get severely stressed and may be susceptible to infectious and metabolic diseases. Not only will the cow suffer, but also her milk production and quality. For example, ketosis and hypocalcemia are both common and quickly fatal metabolic diseases in dairy cattle that are caused by inadequate nutrition during lactation.
Contrary to popular belief, year-round pasture feeding dairy cattle is NOT natural and is not the way dairy cattle have been historically managed. A good quality, high producing dairy cow cannot do well on green pasture alone. Even the best pasture does not contain the nutrition it needs to produce the milk it was bred to produce. Keep in mind that a grass fed dairy in Idaho only has grass available from April-Sept/Oct. Year round pasture feeding of dairy cattle requires the artificial creation of year-round pastures by intensive irrigation that uses high volumes of energy and water.
Discussions of a milking cows diet and how it can affect milk consistency, flavor and her overall health.
For those of you that are not agriculturally inclined, think about these things. 1. Hay is dried pasture and grain is a form of grass seed. 2. Most milk producers, including organic milk producers, do not have to worry about milk flavor because pasteurization will alter milk flavor. 3. Ask any old-timer or read older literature about a grass fed dairy cow and they will tell you the milk has an "off" flavor or tastes bad.
Tim Boyd, a member of the WAP Foundation, comments on the subject of grassfeeding milking cows, "...[G]rass is very short on Phosphorus and calcium two of the three essential macro nutrients, and is very short on energy (starch) to give fuel to microbes to multiply to digest large amounts of protein. The average cow rations should be in the range of 16.5 percent protein, most grass we feed as pasture is 24 to 27% protein, essentially drowning the microbes in too much protein forcing the cow to starve given nothing or very little gets digested because the microbes have no energy to reproduce even though the cow eats constantly.... The key is to have the balance just right with dairy cows and that is very hard to do with grass, and remember we have the limited up take of calcium and phosphorus as mentioned earlier with grass alone.... WAPF to my knowledge has never promoted 100% grass fed given the two counties in the country that can do it cannot supply the country with products. Grass can be a good thing but it also can be abused and lead to the same results of CAFOs, just killing them with protein and instead of energy."
Here is another viewpoint we found interesting on the topic of grass/grain feeding from an Idaho raw goat milk producer that we thought we'd share with you.
"As for feeding grains, most goat owners do feed some grain on the stand. Most goat owners will not allow uninformed people (informed only by what they are reading on the internet) to dictate how they care for their goats. I've done the no grain, all grass fed routine in 2010. My gals lost so much condition, when I got my 2nd cutting hay that fall, it took a LOT of alfalfa hay to get them back in shape to kid & produce milk for 2011. I'm of the firm belief that due to their depleted condition, they became candidates of different health issues, including mastitis...which I NEVER had a problem with in Montana.
Now, there are different schools of thought on feeding grains. One is to feed 1 lb for every quart they are giving. Another is to feed 1 lb for every 2 quarts of milk. Then there are those of us that gives just some while on the stand each milking. What are these goat owners feeding? Some do a custom feed of various grains and others feed prepared feed (like Nutrena or Purina). My Unpasteurized Milk customers have tasted just grassfed milk from goats and mine with the non-gluten grains. The grassfed milk was "stronger" tasting and not as pleasing as milk where my goats get a bit of grain. My thoughts on that is the gals are pulling nutrients from their body to make milk and it's not healthy. Since goats are NOT like cows (browsers vs grazers), it may be necessary to feed grains for optimal health. I'm no expert & have learned a lot since moving my gals to Idaho, but I do know my gals very well & what it takes to keep them healthy."
All-Natural, Pure Raw Milk
Our raw milk is an all natural, pure product, but does not qualify under the term "organic". Nor do we want to be organic certified due to inconsistencies of organic rules. Some "organic dairies" have the worst conditions and poorest quality milk on the market.
With that said, our practices allow us to take the best care of our animals. With respect to antibiotics and worm medicines, we use them only if the need arises. We do not use them prophylactically. We believe that a strict ban on antibiotic usage in livestock is irrational and abusive. We would never let a cow suffer and die when she could be easily saved. We have a lot of respect for our cows and we give them the best of care. If cow becomes ill we will remove her from the milking group so she may be treated. When antibiotics have cleared her system and are no longer detected in her milk, she can return to the herd. All of our milk tests antibiotic free.
***If you think cows are happier or healthier without antibiotics you are wrong. Under a dairy with certified organic rules, cows with hoof rot or a barn full of sick and dying calves would be left to suffer. Exercising good judgement with the use of antibiotics would treat and eliminate both issues mentioned above. Contrary to popular belief, antibiotics in conventional milk was not a problem even before the instigation of "organic certifications"***
We do not use any artificial growth hormones to increase milk production.
We do not use rbST at our dairy, but let's talk about the milk production hormone.
rbST is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring protein hormone (bovine somatotropine, or bST) found in all dairy cows. bST is hormone a milking cow's body already produces that aids in milk production. The synthetic version (rbST) works the same way as the naturally occurring version (bST). It is not a steroid hormone; it is a protein. Because rbST is a protein, it is digested like any other protein when consumed. All milk contains hormones, and the levels of hormones are not biologically different between organic, rbST-free and regular milk. Rbst is used for cattle with a low milk production and is not for intended for use on every milking cow. The main reason being is that it wouldn't benefit a cow if she is already a good producer. This type of injection cannot be traced or tested for in milk. Studies show it does not pose risk to human health.
The nutritional and taste characteristics of milk remain the same as well. rbST-supplemented milk does not contain antibiotics. All milk—regardless of production practice—is tested, and milk determined to contain antibiotics is discarded. rbST is highly researched animal product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Extensive data from thousands of dairies and millions of cows have demonstrated that cows supplemented with rbST remain healthy and productive. Interestingly enough, rbST can help to improve productivity and sustainability. For example: Six cows supplemented with rbST will produce the same amount of milk as seven non-supplemented cows. The supplemented cows require less feed, less water and fewer resources to make the same volume of milk. However with that said, our dairy does not use rbST.
Healthy Cows Produce Healthy Milk
Healthy cows produce great tasting all natural raw milk and we hope that you are enjoying it or will soon see what all the excitement is all about.
Thank you for your support of Idaho Natural Farm Fresh.
We hope you enjoy the very best of Idaho from our family to yours,
IDAHO Natural Farm Fresh
...the way mother nature intended it!