Effective February 1, the Center for Dairy Excellence has begun the discovery and transition phases of restructuring our organization and industry support model, currently threatened by the absence of public investment. During this transition period, we will be suspending several programs and industry resources previously offered by the center. Among the suspended programs is the grant funding we offered for transition, succession, transformation, and profitability planning.
The Center for Dairy Excellence was established in 2004, when leaders recognized a troubling decline in Pennsylvania's dairy industry and gathered together to focus on strengthening the foundations of the industry. For the past twelve years, the center's work has focused on strengthening individual dairy farm businesses, the organizations serving dairy farm businesses, and the broader dairy industry. As we have grown, our mission has remained unchanged: To partner, coordinate, and empower all stakeholders, resulting in a stronger industry.
A strong board and professional staff team has guided and led the work of our organization, focused on achieving our mission. Each year the level of programming, staff support, and collaboration offered to the industry from farm to fork has grown, due to the unique public-private partnership we have enjoyed between the industry and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Much has been accomplished through this industry-wide coordinated effort led by the Center for Dairy Excellence. Thousands of dairy farms and hundreds of stakeholder businesses have benefited from this coordinated effort. We remain indebted to those who have partnered with us in our vision for strengthening the Pennsylvania dairy industry. Our partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has provided the springboard allowing us to launch this initiative and continues be instrumental in our opportunity to be a central resource to the dairy industry.
In addition to our on-farm resources, the center's efforts in providing information and education resources in the areas of risk management, business planning and best management practices continue to bring benefit and value to a broad range of industry stakeholders. In recent years, key partnerships have expanded our work into the processing, manufacturing, and retail sectors. Lastly, through the CDE Foundation, award winning youth education programs are preparing thousands of youth for careers in or advocacy for the dairy industry.
This period of transition will include noticeable changes in the programs and industry support platform which has been developed and offered by the Center for Dairy Excellence over the past 12 years. However, change is not unfamiliar territory to anyone reading this letter. Survival in any industry, including the dairy industry, requires frequent assessment, analysis, and transformation. Our goal is to emerge from this discovery period positioned for future support of the Pennsylvania dairy industry.
Today, Pennsylvania's dairy industry is undeniably the largest sector of Agriculture, the largest industry in Pennsylvania. Dairy contributes an estimated $7 billion in economic revenue to the state, with 7,300 dairy farms supporting local communities across the commonwealth. We look forward to developing a sustainable model to lead the future of our industry, engaging dairy industry leaders and key stakeholders as we move forward on this path.
Center for Dairy Excellence
Meadow Vista Farm
CDE Board Chairman