We have spent many years learning how to produce the finest tasting and most nutritious goat milk possible. Willow Lane Dairy Goats has been on Dairy Herd Improvement Research, (DHIR) testing continuously for the last 14 years and has won National awards for total milk production, as well as butterfat and protein content.
Five of our goats have actually been Top Ten Breed Leaders, which means, that they placed in the top ten of all the goats in their breed in the United States who are on DHIR testing as recorded by the United States Department of Agriculture. All of our goats are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association.
DHIR milk testing consists of having a certified tester come to the farm and weigh milk produced by each individual goat in two twelve hour periods each month, taking a milk sample from each weigh sample, and submitting the samples to a DHIR laboratory to measure butterfat, protein and somatic cell count.
Somatic cell count is an indicator of overall udder health. Participating in this program continuously for the past 14 years has helped us to identify goats and lines of goats that have superior milk producing abilities and select for only the finest of milk to be produced on the farm.
It has been a huge commitment and expense to sample and test milk from each goat every month for the past 14 years but we feel it is one of the best ways we can develop and insure quality control of our milk. In addition to our efforts using DHIR milk testing, we recently invested in an on farm milk microbiology laboratory where milk samples can be cultured immediately to insure that we are producing only the highest quality milk.
All of our goats have names and receive the highest standard of humane and loving care. One of our most important daily goals is to make their lives happy and enjoyable. We have worked very closely with a veterinarian to design and implement herd health policies that protect the health of our goats.
We do not allow goats from other herds to stay at our farm nor do we let our herd mingle with other herds at shows and exhibitions. These policies serve to protect our goats from illness and greatly reduce the need to use antibiotics on our farm.
When we do use antibiotics it is only under the direct recommendation of a veterinarian to treat one of our beloved goats for an illness. We believe that our goats and all animals should benefit from the discovery of antibiotics for treating illness, and we ONLY use them under those circumstances.
Strict antibiotic administration guidelines are always followed to insure that the milk is never contaminated with antibiotics. Milk from goats that are ill or that are being treated is discarded. We don't use ANY unnatural hormones, or rBST (Bovine Growth Hormone) in the production of our milk. We don't use any additives, preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavorings in ANY of our products.
USDA's Position Paper on Sale/Consumption of Raw Milk
One of the Goals of Drake Family Farms is:
To produce the World's Finest, safe, wholesome food products, free of: antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives, hormones, artificial colors, and artificial flavorings.
In the past we had a policy that stated:
We do not sell raw milk BECAUSE; The official position of the American Veterinarian Medical Association is that all milk for human consumption should be pasteurized. This position was proposed and accepted by Veterinarians and is based on sound scientific facts that goats and cows no matter how healthy they appear can be shedding infectious diseases that are contagious to humans in their milk.
These are called Zoonotic diseases. Yes, it is true that our goats are very healthy. In fact we take EXTREME precautions to protect the health of our goats and test our goats routinely for several goat diseases to make sure they do not have these diseases. If you were to compare our herd health programs and biosecurity programs with those of other goat dairies in the country we would rank as extremely concerned and cautious about the health of our goats.
But even with all these tests and precautions we cannot be sure that ALL our goats are free of EVERY disease. One of the reasons for this is MANY of the zoonotic diseases do not have reliable tests available to determine if goats have the disease, are shedding the disease in their milk, or if they have even been exposed and/or gained immunity to the particular disease.
Most healthy humans can drink raw milk containing pathogens and not get sick. BUT, since many of our customers are babies or people that are immunocompromized we have decided that we cannot accept the risk that EVEN ONE baby or person might get a zoonotic disease. We do not want to take the risk with your health and therefore heat-treat/pasteurize all our milk to make sure it is safe.