The Family Cow

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

They write: “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 plus extra credit) 1595
5-Cow Rating | Top-Rated
Farmstead dairies earn the most points. Corporations that have a history of skirting the organic rules receive the fewest.
Ownership structure
100Family business
Farms that produce 100% of their milk receive the most points. Milk from "open market" or known confinement dairies receive the fewest.
Milk Supply
100Single farm DBA Shankstead EcoFarm
100% organic farms receive the most points. Split operations with conventional dairy on the same property receive the fewest.
Organic Production
100Brand only markets certified organic raw milk
Farms that completed the survey in detail received the most points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
100Full disclosure
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certification
85Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO)
Animal Welfare Approved and Biodynamic certifications receive the most bonus points. Producers are not penalized for not having additional certifications beyond organic.
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 of standards
90100% grassfed without certification
No points are given for this but the information may be useful to certain consumers looking to avoid soy.
Soy Free Ration?
Yes (also does not feed corn)
Sliding scale based on policies, enforcement, acreage/cow, days/year on pasture, and permissible exemption.
100Superb pasture compliance
One time/day receives the most points. Two times per day is standard.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
Lower cull rate scores better, with under 10% receiving the most points.
Cull/death Rate
80Moderate cull/death rate
Farms with closed herds receive the most points. Farms that sell organic calves and buy conventional replacements receive the fewest.
100Closed herd
Standard practice is removing calves shortly after birth, with extra points given for unique ways of managing calves
75Removed shortly after birth (standard practice)
Farms that prohibit antibiotics receive the most points. Farms that allow young stock to receive antibiotics (under one year), receive the fewest.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotics
No hormones is the standard, however some farms do use oxytocin for therapeutic purposes.
Hormone Usage
100No hormones used
Farmstead dairies (owner lives on-site) receive the most points. Fewer points are given as oversight declines.
Farm Support
100Single farm
All ingredients sourced from inside the organization or on the farm receives the highest points. Ingredients from confinement factory farms and/or imported ingredients receive the fewest.
Procurement of Ingredients
100No outside ingredients used
Various levels of extra credit given for 1) providing full organic systems plan, 2) providing details on all farms (multi-farm brands, details on largest five required), and 3) sourcing feed on-farm or domestically.
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.