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Raw Milk Selling Well in Spearfish

In June 2009, I expressed the disgust I share with Belle Fourche dairy man John Habeck about how the state, the banks, and the dairy industry have left small dairies for dead. Industry advocates like Vale-gone-Faulkton rancher Troy Hadrick have attacked the efforts of Habeck and others to market raw milk even while advocating less government oversight of government inspection of beef for E. coli.

Fortunately, Habeck and his wife Dawn have withstood the antipathy of state and industry and kept their small dairy operation afloat:

The couple, who own and operate a dairy farm eight miles north of Spearfish, have opened a store in the Farmer's Market, located in the historic red barn along Highway 14, in Spearfish to provide their products year round.

They said that it's been one of the best business decisions they've made so far.

Since opening their doors the first week in September, it's been nearly impossible to keep the shelves stocked.

The Red Barn Farmer's Market is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and to date, they've been going through 100 gallons of milk a day, and usually sell out before the doors close [Heather Murschel, "Black Hills Milk Opens Spearfish Location," Black Hills Pioneer, 2011.10.07].

The Habecks are making a go of it with 30 dairy cows (20 calves are on the way this winter). That's less than 1% of the livestock Michael Crinion thinks he needs to concentrate in Hanson County to add to his dairy wealth.

And I haven't seen any Spearfish neighbors keeling over from raw milk poisoning yet.


  1. mike 2011.10.09

    I couldn't agree more with you about this issue Cory. Good for these people! I drink raw milk everyday.

  2. Charlie Johnson 2011.10.09

    Amen to everything mentioned in this post. What the state has DONE to/for the dairy industry is unwarranted, foolish, and yes, stupid. We have maintain a goal of growing dairy cow numbers(which has not happen to any great extent)while in the meantime, we have snuffed out hundreds of excellent dairy operators in the process. The goal from the start should have been to increase dairy operation numbers not dairy cow numbers. Concentrating more cows into less space has thus created tensions in rural comunities, threaten our water supplies, and help ruin our roads. We have substitued family farm dairy operators with hired help that is hard to maintain and in most cases is here illegally. I'm glad for the Red Barn Market. We need more examples like that.

  3. Douglas Wiken 2011.10.09

    What are proven advantages of raw milk. Undulant fever is not good.

    Dispersed economy and animals make good sense. Huge operations of any kind generate huge problems and the consequences of "too big to fail" are already well known

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.09

    The latter half of your comment, Douglas, points to one huge advantage: small dairies can turn a profit selling a healthy product to their neighbors with no corporate middleman skimming profits for pushing papers.

  5. matthew siedschlaw 2011.10.10

    I wish those people drinking raw milk the best. I would personally discourage children and old people drinking it. If you are an adult and want to gamble with it so be it. If you give it to a child it is a huge gamble. There is a whole list of disease that could kill a child from drinking raw milk if it is contaminated and E-col 0157:h7 is just one perhaps one of the nicer of the sever diseases that could be fatal.

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