John Willoughby: Greene Publishing, Inc.
What started out as a hobby farm in Lee, Fla., for Dan Beffa, has now turned into a profitable business that he is extremely passionate about. Since moving to Madison from Ft. Lauderdale in 2008, Dansha Farms has produced goat milk for various types of cheeses and world-renowned hand-milking products for farmers around the world, with the motto, and the goal, of "hand milking made easy."
While getting milk from one of his goats, Beffa began developing pain in his hands from the milking process, Beffa was relentless to find an easier and more efficient way to milk his goats and continue his operation with ease. According to Beffa, the hand milking process, even for the experienced, is not an easy one. The typical amount of goats that will be milked within an hour tops out at six, according to Beffa.
"Anyone who has ever tried to hand milk a cow, goat or sheep understands just how difficult it is to get the technique right," said Beffa. "But not only is using an incorrect technique ineffective, it is the leading cause of mastitis, a very painful condition, in lactating animals."
Beffa, a former licensed aircraft mechanic and pilot, put his skills to the test instead of paying for a product that was out of his budget. Thus, to his surprise, the hand-powered vacuum milking machine was invented after identifying proper necessities at a hardware store. Today, Beffa's mission is to provide the best products and service to customers at the lowest prices possible. Over 5,000 of Dansha Farms' products can be found worldwide, spreading across 33 countries, including Russia, China, South Africa, France and many others.
According to Beffa, all of the milking jars are sealed with a food-grade polyurethane, not to be confused with construction-grade polyurethane. Because of the sealed system, milk from goats, cows, sheep and other animals is insured to be kept clean and non-contaminated. "This insures consistent vacuum while not risking contamination of the jar contents," said Beffa.
Dansha Farms offers over six different products for use, including the mini milker (one pint milker bottle and two food-grade nylon vacuum hoses), the off-grid milker (one-half gallon milker bottle and three food-grade nylon vacuum hoses) and the homestead four teat cow milker (two-and-one-half gallon milker bottles and four food-grade nylon vacuum hoses). All products include one high volume vacuum pump, except for the old faithful milker, which utilizes one high volume manual brass hand pump. The brute milker (one gallon, one-half gallon milker bottles and three food-grade nylon vacuum hoses) includes one high volume, high capacity vacuum pump. Most of the pumps are hand-held and battery powered, making the process easier for those who have arthritis or any other condition that makes hand-milking otherwise difficult. Though he builds and sends products with ease, it wasn't always easy coming up with the products.
"If you fail, just get up. Dust yourself off and give it another try," said Beffa. "There's been a lot of things I did that just didn't work and you know, you've gotta keep on trying to get [the product] to work."
Beffa, who currently lives in Lee, was born in Rhode Island and is married to Sharon Beffa. Beffa is the father of Daniella Beffa, who is scheduled to receive her bachelor's degree next spring. According to Beffa, the same weekend he and Sharon visited Madison County, they bought their 51 acres of land immediately. "I really like being up here," said Beffa. "The first time Sharon and I drove up here, we're like 'that guy just waved at us. Does he know us?' I thought it was a little bit weird coming from Ft. Lauderdale. The people are so friendly. I mean that."
In 10 years, Beffa states he hopes to turn the business over to someone who will allow him to stay involved to help the new owner become successful. Product details, prices, tutorials and instructions can be found by logging onto danshafarms.com. You may also call Beffa at (850) 464-2881. You could be the next owner of Beffa's unique hand-milking machine today!