The Family Cow

Farm/Brand HeadquartersChambersburg, PA
ProductsFluid milk, raw milk, A2 milk
Market AreaPA, web sales
Total Score1595

They say: ““The Family Cow is a certified organic, grass based, PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) permitted, raw milk dairy. The farm is situated on 122 acres of certified organic pastures. The farm’s 75 Jersey milk cows are rotationally grazed 8 months out of the year. An additional 300 acres of organic land is farmed to assure an abundance or high quality organic stored grasses to grass-feed the cows during the winter. The dairy is owned and operated by Edwin and Dawn Shank and their 6 children and has been continuously owned and farmed by the family for 5 generations and close to 100 years.

The Family Cow is dedicated to extremely safe raw milk. A web-based monitoring system, ProAct, is used to assure that all critical points of the food safety RAMP are under control. The Family Cow may be the only raw milk dairy in the USA with this level of control to monitor, record and alert for food safety issues.The Shank family also pioneers with an on-farm raw milk laboratory. The laboratory gives The Family Cow the unique ability to establish a test-and-hold protocol for every single lot of raw milk. This assures that each bottling of The Family Cow raw milk falls within the coliform and APC standards for low risk foods as defined by USA food safety experts.”

In early 2018 the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announced that the The Family Cow was a 2018 recipient of their PASAbilities Award that honors businesses and individuals making meaningful contributions to sustainable agriculture in the state and beyond. The awards was presented at PASA’s 27th Annual Farming for the Future Conference, held in State College, PA on February 7 through 10.

This brand’s products can be found at farm stores and drop-off sites throughout Pennsylvania (check the listed website for details on how to obtain their products).

TOTAL (possible score is 1600)1595
5-Cow Rating | Top-Rated—Beyond Organic
Farmstead dairies who live on-site (or work their own dairy daily) receive top points for this category. No transparency and/or no answer receive no points.
Ownership structure
100Family business
Farmstead dairies and well-managed cooperatives with only their own patrons get top points in this category. Fewer points go to brands that have less control over their milk supply.
Milk Supply
100Single farm DBA Shankstead EcoFarm
Brands that do not also market any conventional products receive top points in this category. Brands that are less dedicated to organics receive fewer points.
Organic Production
100Brand only markets certified organic raw milk
The best transparency toward Cornucopia investigators is rewarded by full points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
100Full disclosure
If a top-rated organic certifier certifies this brand they receive full points. Certifiers with questionable practices receive fewer points.
Organic Certification
85Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO)
If this brand has other third-party labels, particularly animal-welfare labels, that will provide them extra points in this category depending on the particular label and its standards.
Other Labels/Standards
0Milk is labeled 100% RAW and officially RAW tested, inspected and permitted by the PA Department of Agriculture (non-scoring)
100% Grass-fed with independent verification or independent standards to ensure compliance will receive full points in this category. Other points are attributed to how much forage composes the dairy cows’ diets.
90100% grassfed without certification
No point value – this information is offered for buyers interested in milk from cows without soy in their diets.
Soy Free Ration?
Yes (also does not feed corn)
Rating based on (a) policies of brand, (b) enforcement/oversight (c) acreage available per cow, (d) average days on pasture (e) investigative actions.
100Superb pasture compliance
Where cows are milked one to two times per day they receive top points. It's standard organic protocol to milk two times a day. Dairies that milk three-to-four times a day is one indicator of factory-organics.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
A cull and/or death rate under 10% annually receives full points.
Cull/death Rate
80Moderate cull/death rate
Closed herd (meaning the brand raises all their replacement cattle) receives full points. If conventional animals are purchased, the brand receives fewer points.
100Closed herd
If this brand has a unique way of managing calves they receive more points. If they remove the calf shortly after birth (the standard practice) they receive 70 points.
75Removed shortly after birth (standard practice)
When the brand prohibits all antibiotic use they receive full points. No answer receives no points.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotics
When no hormones are used on farm(s) this brand receives full points. When the brand uses hormones therapeutically post-birth the brand receives 50 points.
Hormone Usage
100No hormones used
Farmstead dairies (lives on site) get full points and cooperative/corporations that set standards and have staff that visit the supplying dairies also receive top points. No direct supervision and/or personal relationship with farm(s) gets low or no points.
Farm Support
100Single farm
Full control of any added ingredients (100% come from within organization) receives top points. Dairy ingredients purchased from a number of different vendors (with less direct control) receives fewer points in this category.
Procurement of Ingredients
100No outside ingredients used
Several questions were asked in addition to the original survey questions that would ultimately give producers “extra credit” points. Look for details in individual brand explanations.
Extra Credit
175OSP submitted, very transparent. With respect to the concern of fraudulent grain imports, this dairy is 100% grass fed and produces all of their own feed on-farm.

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

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