Did you ever wonder why there are different options for obtaining dairy products in Utah?  And just what are the differences in the programs?  How do they affect the consumer and also the producer?  Well, lets take a look.

Program Comparisons


Producer Requirements

Consumer Requirements

What is the Program?

Benefits and Downfalls

Herd Share

  •  Create and sign Bill of Sale and Agreement with the consumer
  • Notify Utah Dairy Manager in writing of their intent to sell dairy products through the Herd Share Program
  • Herd and milk records must be available at all times to the consumer for their viewing. Thus that is an added incentive to the producer to maintain strict safety standards
  •  Must sign a Bill of Sale and agreement with the producer
  • Consumer owns a very small limited percentage of the herd
  • Because of this, the producer does not have to be licensed to sell the milk and milk products
  • Consumer does not necessarily get a share of the sale of babies born, nor can he/she tell a producer what to do with the animals

Herd Share puts food standards in the hands of the producer to decide what standards they will adhere to.  Thus, if they want to sell their dairy products, they have to make the decision to uphold strict standards. They are not forced into anything. Its the responsibility of the consumer to check out their intended facility to see if it meets the standards they desire to purchase from.

  • Products may be transported to a drop off point or to a consumer’s home
  • Allows for cheaper prices of products, due to less costs to maintain silly regulations and inconsistent regulations imposed on licensed dairies
  • Allows for greater diversity of natural raw milk products
  • Products may not be sold at a farmer’s market, fair or off-farm store
  • Producer may only sell dairy off of ten goats, ten sheep and two cows.  Doesn’t give a lot of room for as much milk to be produced

Licensed Raw to Retail

  •  Meet the strict and inconsistent facility requirements imposed on the producer
  • Producer is required to have a valid Food Handler’s Permit.  However, many times the inspectors don’t let the producer know that it is a requirement
  • Producer is required by Utah Law to follow the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) for safe handling of the udder and milk.  However, some licensed dairies are not following this and are told by their inspector that if their bacteria counts are good, that they don’t have to follow PMO standards.
  • Goats must be tested for Brucellosis and cows for TB and Brucellosis.  Results must be sent to UDAF Dairy Manager.  One time test.
  • Log must be kept of the people who purchase milk from them
  • Waiver of liability is must be provided to the consumer. Basically this is a mini contract relieving the producer of liability in case of sickness.
  • Milk must be sold in an on-farm store room.  Can’t be sold out of the house etc.  However, some inspectors don’t force the store room.
  • Dairies are forced to comply which is not always the best policy
  •  Consumer must sign the waiver of liability

 The producer has to first meet UDAF facility requirements. Then they have to apply for the license to sell raw milk. If the inspector approves the facility and if the first bacteria counts are good, then the dairy obtains a permit to sell raw milk.

UDAF calls it a Grade A dairy.  However, Federal calls it Raw to Retail and not Grade A dairy.

State tests the milk monthly for Standard Plate Count, Coliform and somatic cell count. They do not routinely test for camphylobacteria. If at any time the counts are too  high the permit to sell milk will temporarily be pulled.  Thus the producer is ‘forced to comply’, rather than complying to regulations on their own desires.

Raw to Retail dairies cannot sell anything except for raw milk, without further licensing.


  • Producer may milk and sell raw milk from as many animals as he/she wants
  • Often the various inspectors rules that they impose on the producer are not consistent with each other.  ie/ One inspector will say that you must have a food handler’s permit, another says you don’t need one.  One inspector will enforce the safe disinfecting of udders, whereas others will say, “if your bacteria counts are great, you don’t have to follow the safe disinfecting guidelines
  • Raw milk may only be sold from the on-farm store.  It may not be sold in an offsite store, farmer’s market or fair.  Only exception is if the producer owns at least 51% of the profits of an off-site-store, they may transport and sell the raw milk from that off-site store.  This means that most small producers don’t have enough money to sell, except from their farm
  • Often, even though the inspectors are great to work with, the facility required is to costly for many wanna-be producers to even get started. 
  • Many Licensed dairies and non-licensed strive to produce a safe and wholesome product.  However, not all dairies try.  Sometimes they let things slip when the inspector turns their back.  The reason is because they are forced to do certain thing, rather than doing them because they strive for excellence of on their own desire.  Thus, products from licensed dairies may give a false sense of security
  • Inspectors cannot be everywhere at all times. They cannot test milk at required cooling intervals, etc. Thus the security in the licensed facilities is false security.
  • Another false sense of security is that of no routine testing for camphylobacteria.  Utah does not routinely test for this because it is so hard to test for
  • Producer signs that the inspector has the right to come on the property at any time and go through the facility and herd. This can be good or bad, depending upon the inspector

Licensed Pasteurized


Licensed Cheese