Herd shares at Ninja Cow Farm are starting, here are the details

Senate Bill 711 became law on October 1st, 2018. This means that for the first time in my lifetime, herd shares are legal in the state of NC. There isn’t a lot of detail in the law concerning what is and what is not a herd share so it is left up to us farmers to implement the law as best we can. As I see it, we have several choices.

  1. Setup a monthly payment plan for the “purchase” of your milk cow. (i.e. $50 a month, plus extra fees like delivery, storage, container fees, refrigeration, etc.)You get a picture of your cow and you can say this is Bessie’s milk. Whether you want milk this week or not, you get your gallon.
  2. One time purchase of a fraction of the cow. A milk cow is worth about $1500. So we’d charge each and every person who buys in a portion of that figure. Then there would be associated fees for the milk just like the above. You’d have to purchase your milk each week, as above. The result would be the same as for ownership, but the upfront cost would be much higher. The paperwork for the farmer would be less though.
  3. We combine all fees, costs, etc. into an ongoing per gallon fee that works for the farmer and the consumer. We need to charge a fee for the buy in, but after that we charge based on demand. For a completely different example; if you want to go to the private bar, you pay a membership fee. Once inside, you pay for each drink you consume. If you are the designated driver, then all you pay is your membership fee. If you are the regular at the bar, you pay the membership fee plus your bar tab each night. The membership fee stays the same, the bar tab changes depending on your consumption. We would handle herd shares exactly the same. There is a membership fee, plus a cost per gallon (instead of per drink).

We did look at all three options, but in the end we’ve elected to go with option 3 for the following reasons.

  • Our costs are already built into the current price of milk. That means that what you are paying now would be what you would pay going forward. Per gallon costs would not change.
  • The administrative expense of maintaining our current setup, plus a list of herd share customers, is fairly minimal.  We would not be adding much in the way of costs.
  • We are not going to sell the entire animal to the customer, nor rights to sell fractions, or have authority of the management of the animal, including its outright sale. What we are selling is the rights to the animal through one lactation. Technically we are selling you the animal, but each lactation cycle devalues the animal as she gets older. By buying in, you are part of the herd share, but there is no need to buy you back out at the end of the lactation. We will simply retire the current list of herd share members, who forfeit their buy in price as a depreciation on the cow. We then start a new herd share list the next year with everyone who is interested buying in anew.

With all of the above in mind, here is our plan:

A gallon and a half gallon of cow/goat milk will remain at its current price for herd share members.

To buy into the herd share, we will charge the cost of one gallon of milk.

Once you have bought in, we will add your name to the herd share list and you will be free to buy milk and milk products (we have butter and yogurt coming from our cows!)

For those that do not want to buy into the herd share, we will not charge the herd share buy in fee. We will instead charge one dollar more per gallon than our current pricing. This will be to offset the cost of the pet milk label that must be affixed to the container under NC law. We will not discuss what you are doing with said milk, other than to hear how much your dog/cat/goldfish likes the milk. If you tell us you are drinking it, we will refuse the sale as it is still quite illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption outside of a herd share agreement.

We hope that you find this arrangement very easy to understand and more importantly easy to implement. As you come in expect to be queried about herd shares. We truly do not mind which option you chose, but we will try to make all options available to you, our valued customers.

 

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

No turkeys this year due to Hurricane Florence

After much back and forth, I’ve just received work from our chicken farmer. Sad face emoji

No turkeys this year for Thanksgiving. The losses from Hurricane Florence were just too great to be able to supply us and this late in the game there just isn’t time for a plan B. I’m terribly sorry that this happened, and that it has taken this long to get word out to people. This post is up not more than two minutes after I found out.

For those of you who we’ve put on our pre-order list, we’ll be contacting you directly to make sure you received the word. But I wanted to get the broadest word out first which is via a post to the blog.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

The mud run is tomorrow

After our return to summer this week, the forecast for tomorrow is 81 degrees and cloudy. There is a chance of some widely scattered showers, but they look to be more in the afternoon. That is simply a perfect day for a mud run. Warm enough to enjoy the run, cool enough not to sweat to death.

Scaling a wall at the DragonOCR mud runThere is still time to register and run tomorrow. Just visit Dragon OCR to register and run. We’ll have our full complement of parkers on site to get you to your spot, and the store open as usual with fresh made cookies from the girls to celebrate your successful run.

Obstacle at the mud runI’ve had some people say they wanted to run, but they didn’t think they could make it over some of the obstacles (that they haven’t even seen). Rest assured, this isn’t the olympics. If an obstacle looks too tough, just run right around it. The idea is to have fun and get some outdoor exercise. So come on out and give it a try.

The parking crew will be running it tonight as a test run, and a thanks for doing the parking job. I’m sure they will be able to give you tips on which ones are the most fun when you get here.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

The mud run is this weekend!

Yes I know we already had a mud run scheduled. But then this lady named Florence showed up and things would have been a bit too muddy.

So October 6th is our new date, this coming weekend. The good news is that has given our mud run people some extra time to get things ready so the course should be even better than we’d expected. As before, all the signup and detail information is available at their website, DragonOCR. To participate just go online to their site and signup.

We will be open for regular business next Saturday in the store, but we will not be scheduling tours as we normally do. Tours will be offered every 30 minutes and will be group tours, which is our normal method when we have a large event.

I have had a few people tell me they’d like to come but they weren’t sure they could get over some of the obstacles. I’m not in charge of the event, but we aren’t running the Boston Marathon here. If the obstacle is too hard, just run around it and continue on to the next one. The idea is to have fun, not set a new record.

Spots are still available so sign up and come see us on Saturday. The weather looks great!

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Cow milk is coming!

Bottle and glass of milk

It is official. We are back to milking and I will be, Lord willing, picking up our first load of cow milk from our other farm this coming Monday. This first week I’ll only be picking up 10 gallons but I’ll also be picking up our regular order of goat milk as well so we should, for the first time in months, have plenty of milk for everyone.

If you need to know if we have milk before you come out, you can always call us on our store phone during store hours at 919-322-0197.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Greetings from Hurricane Florence

I received a lot of messages and calls from friends and family after the hurricane. Mainly everyone wanted to know if we were alright. The short answer is yes, we were fine. We lost power for about 18 hours, but that was from one errant limb. No damage, no real issues. The same wasn’t true for our friends down East.

Spork, the Princess and I are all members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). In operation since December of 1941 and currently part of the Air Force’s total force and an auxiliary of the US Air Force, it is a pretty neat operation. We fly  Air Force owned Cessna airplanes, but we operate with 100% volunteer civilians. We go to meetings, march around a bit (the kids, not me) and take training on all kinds of things. It really is a great organization and is financially the best deal going ($75 per year) if you are looking for something for your kids.

One of the things we do as CAP is Emergency Services (ES). That means we do things like look for missing persons, do some light search and rescue, and respond in disasters. Florence, by order of the President, was a disaster. We received an alert for a possible mission on Thursday the day before the hurricane hit. Then Friday was quiet as the hurricane worked its way ashore. Saturday there was a bit of back and forth and some communication to get our teams ready. There was a flurry of activity on my end as we put names to seats in our CAP van, then there was nothing. Quiet.

About 4pm, the Mrs asked me if she should make dinner. With a hurricane ashore pounding Wilmington, and it getting closer to dark. I said yes, it is too late in the day for them to dispatch us. At 4:15 I received a text, “have you left yet?” Just like that, we were off and running.

It took about two hours to get Spork and I to the airport, and the rest of our cadets there as well to meet up. We launched in our van into the hurricane at 6:15 and headed off into the night. It was myself, and 5 cadets in the van, a Chevrolet minivan. We worked our way Eastward, dodging washed out roads and bridges, backtracking and trying new routes. We worked till about 11pm when mission base decided we’d had enough and had us retreat to a shelter in Wallace. It was a school without power and with hundreds of people in residence already.

The next morning we departed to Warsaw where we waited for mission base to come up with our orders. While waiting we were tasked to go pick up medical personnel in Jacksonville and take them somewhere, I forget where now. We’d met up with two other CAP vans the night before, one from Louisburg, one from Charlotte and we were working together as a team. This came in really handy as all we had for gear was what we had in our individual packs. With the other teams combined we could share resources and work together.

One of the other senior members and I took off in our van to try to get to Jacksonville to pick up the medical personnel. After two hours of driving, we had made it 12 miles from our starting point. There was no way to get cross-country as all the roads were blocked by water or completely washed away. We reluctantly pulled the plug on that mission and told them they’d need to send air assets.

After much back and forth, we finally were given word that there was a path to Wilmington. It involved going almost all the way back to Raleigh, then heading East towards Jacksonville from there. Once in Jacksonville, we headed South on 17. There were a few moments where we wondered if our chosen path would be open but about 6:30pm we arrived in Wilmington at our new home where we were met by harried first responders trying to get people in and get them situated. It took us 24 hours to get there, a new personal worst for a trip from Raleigh to Wilmington.

Our new home was an abandoned Sears in Independence Mall. We were told that 500 people would be bunking with us. Fire and rescue, DEA, Customs and Border Protection, military. You name it, we all shared a space.

CAP’s speciality in a disaster is an operation called a POD, or Point of Distribution. This is where the public can come and pick up food, water, blankets, tarps, whatever it is that FEMA has decided the community needs.

Prepping pallets for the days work on a POD
Prepping pallets for the days work on a POD

Traditionally the POD is established by the government and CAP shows up to provide trained but non-professional labor. Through some on site marketing by yours truly, along with another senior member from that first group to arrive, we were able to meet with the Incident Management Team brought in to manage the operation and as a result of that meeting we were given command of all the PODs in New Hanover county! To my knowledge this is the first time this has happened in CAP as we are normally labor, not management. As one of the fab four of that first group, I was to be an POD Manager (PM) of one of the POD sites, with two of my peers taking the PM job at the other two sites. The fourth unlucky soul, our fearless leader, was to be our Point of Contact (POC) and IC working inside at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) (Tired of acronyms yet?)

There were three PODs in the county, named North, Central, and South. I allowed my peers to take first choice and I ended up with South POD, which suited me just fine. Central is the one that showed up on the news and also the one that hosted the politicians when they made their appearances. Trying to run a crew of 40-60 people, deal with the public, the police, the military and then insert a politician and the associated news crews into the mix wasn’t something I relished the thought of. I was happy to be South on my little POD.

Briefing cadets, county workers, and military for the days operations
Briefing cadets, county workers, and military for the days operations

As PM of the POD site, everyone on the site reported to me. County workers, police, military, and yes my CAP cadets and senior members. I was a 1st Lieutenant surrounded by a bunch of Lt. Colonels so it made for an interesting chain of command. But I had the best team I could ever have been given and everyone jumped in to do their jobs regardless of rank. I won’t go through the gory details but on opening day we served over 1000 people from a parking lot that as the sun set the night before had exactly ZERO materials available to us. It was a busy morning!

Cadets and national guard moving water
Hand downloading materials was part of the job

After running POD South for two days, we were due to rotate home.  That was problematic because the roads into and out of Wilmington were reported to be flooded and impassable. We had several teams who were stuck or were turned back and couldn’t make it in. That meant that our relief personnel were not showing up. That meant that if we rotated out, there wouldn’t be any handoff between the experienced teams and the new teams, a recipe for disaster.

Our leaders showed up at my POD for an inspection and after our walk through they requested, strongly, that I stay for another rotation (5 days). I explained I’d already turned my underwear front to back and inside out, and that I HAD to get myself and some of my cadets home, but if they’d allow me to go home and come back with fresh clothes and fresh cadets I’d do so. I was given the green light so the next morning after the POD was up and running, we took off to cross the uncrossable roads and make it home. Three hours later we showed up and hot swapped some cadets. Of my original team of 5 cadets, four refused to stay home and we ended up bringing back a total of 10 people for the second rotation (after running the laundry machine as hard and fast as we dared).

On our return, we were met with incredulity that we’d made it back. Roads were still reported as impassable with teams still stuck all around the state unable to make it. But 5 seconds after that it was back to business and I was told I was moving to POD central with my team and we were running that one now. We served two more days at Central and then on Sunday morning, one week and one day after departing home in a hurricane, we returned home.

My CAP cadets, on our last day at POD South
My CAP cadets, after close of business on our last day at POD South

Cadets, who were between 12 and 17 years old, started their days about 5:00am. Breakfast was usually a cold sandwich or a breakfast bar from a box. They mustered, were briefed, then herded to vans where they transported to their PODs. They went to work about 6:30 to be open by 7am. They worked in shifts, one shift on, one shift off. But when you were off shift, you were called to do any number of things that might be needed. Stack pallets. Prep lunch. Go get Major SoAndSo. Meals were well done by the local crews.

The temperatures were somewhere between 84 and 94 while we were there. The kids wore full military uniforms with safety vests over them. They wore military style boots. At 7pm we closed the barricades and cleaned up our site. There would be an evening muster and briefing, then we’d caravan home to our abandoned Sears. They did get showers working after several days and all 100 cadets had 45 minutes to get in and out of the showers. This includes the split for girls in their own separate shower. It was lights out at 10pm and often I saw cadets up till 11pm. Those are 12 hour work days with all the associated front and back end logistics. They did this every day, and never once did I see anything but a smile.

Lt. Col Swindell driving a CAP van and smiling
We made a lot of new friends from all over. Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, and of course NC.

For the POD manager and many of the seniors, it was up in the 4am range, then work the same schedule as the cadets. When we returned to the Sears, we’d have a meeting with all PMs and our leadership. This would go till about 10:30-11:00. Then it was shower, get back to the desk (a folding table borrowed) and start working on rosters for the next day. That would normally take till about 2am but sometimes 3am. Yes I just described as much as a 23 hour day. It was done at that pace for days at a time. Not by everyone, but by more than a couple.

On our last night working a POD, a cadet came up to me and said he’d left his phone at the site. This was after lights out, when I’d really like to have gotten in my bunk and got some real sleep just one night. But I needed to take him back out to get his phone so oh well. I needed another cadet to go with me so it wasn’t just he and I in the van (there are cadet protection rules in CAP). I walked over to my squadron and told them of my dilemma and asked for a volunteer. Some of these kids had been on this pace for 6 days at this point. Everyone, including the ones already dressed for and in bed, jumped up, laughing and joking, and filled the van to go as a group. I told them I only needed one. “You need help. We help. Lets go.”

I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Spork and the Princess on their last day at the POD
Spork and the Princess on their last day at the POD

 

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

We are sorta closed today, but open if you need us

Closed signPower is back on! Everything has weathered the storm very well but the roads are a bit messy and it is going to be rainy all day. We are not going to open the store today but we are going to be home. If anyone needs product, we are going to post Dan’s phone number on the door and you can just call when you get here. We’ll walk over and help you with what you need, no problem. We just aren’t going to open like normal.

This is a bit nostalgic for me, as this is how we used to work. We didn’t have store hours, but I met everyone one on one instead.

If you have cabin fever, feel free to stop by, we certainly don’t mind opening up for you. Just know we might be in our jammies. 🙂

We should be back to normal on Monday.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

We are closed today

Closed signWith hurricane Florence overhead, and our power out since 2am, we are pulling the plug on having the store open today. We will make a decision on tomorrow once we know what the power crews are able to do.

So far we don’t have any real damage, fingers crossed it stays that way!

Good luck everyone with the storm.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Cow milk is back!

As promised, I’m letting everyone know that we have cow milk coming back to the store starting next week. Calves are on the ground, milk is flowing, and we’ll be bottling starting next week in preparation for putting milk in the store.

Currently I’m planning on making our first pickup next Thursday which means we’ll have it in the store on Friday. Hurricane Florence spaghetti map with wing picture

Of course, all of this is Lord willing. We have some excitement headed our way in the name of Florence. It is hard to take some of the weather forecasts seriously because everything is so overhyped but when I look at the current spaghetti models map (my favorite) I see that there is a good chance we are going to get a good smack from this one. Since Spork and I both work with the Civil Air Patrol, and we have a farm to keep running and multiple families to keep safe, we may be too busy to get milk in the store next week. But sooner or later we’ll have cows milk in the store for purchase. Of course, we’ll keep our goats milk on hand as we transition over so you fine folks have something for the fridge.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Beef has just been restocked, as well as pork and chicken

Sorry to tease you on the steaks
Steaks and burgers, ready for the fire.

This week was a busy week. Friday I picked up a cow at the processor and Jeanette put it away Friday afternoon. That means the beef freezer is full to bursting with all the cuts of beef, including ribeyes and filet mignon.

I also made my normal weekly trip to restock on chicken, milk, eggs, etc where I meet my chicken farmer at the pork processor (it is our normal meeting place). While I was there I restocked on pork as I had a hog there waiting for me. About 400 pounds of pork!

So all three freezers, beef, pork, and chicken are full and ready for you. The girls are working today and I do believe they are making homemade cookies. Spork and I will likely be working on the airplane in the shop so we’ll be around as well. Stop by and say hello and stock up on some meaty goodness.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.