We sell cow shares and I can give you an idea, maybe, of what I want customers to know. When people come over we give them a short tour of our entire area (well, we're on 17 acres and we don't walk them through fields or anything, but where there are animals).
We have an area with a llama, goats, a lamb, and a guard dog. We bring the lamb out and offer to let children (if there are any there, usually there is) feed her. We show them the pig pen and hen house (there are ducks in there so sometimes we'll bring a duck out to show the children). Then we're at the cow pasture and dh brings out one of our cows. This particular cow is very, very pregnant so people are welcome to put their hands on her side to feel the calf moving around (this is really fun for people, as it is usually something they've never done; in fact, that's the closest they've usually been to a cow).
People see our pasture and milking areas and I explain milk handling practices. We're super basic here (milk by hand in the pasture). I explain what the cows eat and how we handle things that are often asked about (do the calves get to stay with the cows and so forth). We have our milk tested periodically and I explain how those numbers work and what they mean. We have our cows tested for a couple of different diseases so I explain that. A lot of people don't ask but those are things that I would want to know if I was going to buy raw milk from someone.
If people are quite brave we show them the beehives. Again, a lot of times people have never actually seen the inside of a beehive so this is a neat opportunity.
Finally we talk about milk pick-up or delivery and I'm always happy to answer any questions (in fact, customers can always reach me via my Blackberry if they think of something later or have a problem).
People are free to ask anything, though, and I suggest that you do. Your dairy person should be knowledgable and transparent. They should be reachable (not at all times like I am, perhaps, but they should return calls promptly).
What happens if you move or decide you don't want a share anymore? We don't buy shares back from people but some farms do.
Are the cows given grain? Do they have access to pasture at all times?
If they are given antibiotics is there a milk removal time? Will milk be available year-round or will there be dry periods (you'll still be expected to pay boarding fees so this is a question worth asking)? Are the calves kept with the mothers or are they given synthetic formula (a lot of people worry about this)?
Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08