2014 Update -
Looks like the SBDC has not been able to come up with viable alternatives, and so we've leased out the majority of the herd, shut down milk production, and will build ourselves.
2015 Update -
I brought back the entirety of the herd. Spring brought new hope and emphasis on genetics and improving health. Herd management played a large part of 2015.
I purchased some restaurant equipment, installed electrical, walls, and flooring.
2016 Update -
I resumed making cheese and attending Farmer's Markets.
The Farm Service Agency awarded the farm a micro loan to build up some of the infrastructure to continue on our path to Grade A.
The milk house/kitchen is almost complete, a brand new septic system to support the dairy is installed, a vat pastuerizer is purchased.
The kitchen equipment and vat will be hooked up in January 2017, a new milk stanchion is being built with composite materials. It will handle 8 does at once, increasing the efficiency of milking time.
An addition to the milking area will include 5 new kidding/holding pens, assist in funneling does into the milk area, and provide shelter in inclement weather.
Kidding season is about to commence and I'll be milking more than ever.
I'm looking forward to 2017. The Business Plan is still in effect and we've been able to cross items off the list. It is still my hope to have bricks and mortar in the future, but now have the ability to create the cheeses and value added products in a stand alone facility.
The dream is still very much alive.