With dairy margins falling to new lows, the Center for Dairy Excellence encourages dairy farmers to take control of their farm’s future by applying for an advisory team grant. Dairy farms with existing teams or those wanting to establish a team to work in an advisory role can receive reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs.
“A team can act as a board of advisors helping the farm make decisions in a volatile and ever-changing marketplace,” said Melissa Anderson, Center for Dairy Excellence programs and operations manager. “Using teams and outside resources to identify challenges, set goals and implement plans can lead to enhanced performance and greater opportunities for the farm.”
The Center offers grants to help farms establish a team of key advisors to provide insight into the business decision making process. Teams typically consist of the farm’s most trusted advisors, with a facilitator designated to coordinate meetings and work. Three types of teams are available to dairy farm families, with different grant levels for each:
- Dairy Profit Teams: Dairy farms with existing profit teams or that establish a new profit team to work in an advisory role for the farm can receive up to $2,000 in reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs. The Profit Team’s function is to serve as a board of advisors for the farm, addressing bottlenecks and identifying opportunities for greater profitability.
- Dairy Transition Teams: This grant is designed to help the farm establish a team to develop a transition or succession plan. Farms can apply to receive up to $3,000 in funding, which could cover the cost of paid team members, discovery-related costs and attorney expenses.
- Dairy Transformation Teams: This option allows producers considering a major business transformation to apply to receive up to $5,000 to establish a team to help plan and work through that transformation. The grant may also include additional funding if the farm’s plan involves a renewable energy component.
“Utilizing a team teaches you how to drop the blinders,” said Mark Mosemann, a partner at Misty Mountain Dairy LLC in Warfordsburg, Pa. “So often on the dairy we can get tunnel vision. Bringing that outside perspective into your dairy helps you look beyond your own vision and thought process to find the best solution possible.”
On-Farm Resource program guidelines emphasize increased profitability, improved performance, and a constructive transformation and/or transition plan. Program participants must also demonstrate industry and farm commitment to the program by documenting in-kind and financial match contributions to the program reimbursements received.
Farms must complete an application and submit the required $100 application fee to participate in the advisory teams. The Center is currently accepting applications for On-Farm Resource Teams for the 2017-18 Fiscal Year. Once approved, farms can utilize the grant to be reimbursed for any qualified expenses incurred from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
The Center works with the Penn State Extension Dairy Team to offer greater resources to farms involved in team programs, including the Dairy Trend Analyzer Program. Both profit and transition teams have access to additional funding for business planning and environmental compliance, as well.
Visit the “Business Tools” tab on centerfordairyexcellence.org to get more information and access program applications. Or, contact Melissa Anderson at 717- 346-0849 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for Dairy Excellence is a non-profit organization initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in 2004. Bringing together people from more than 40 different dairy organizations in Pennsylvania, the center’s mission is to enhance the profitability of the dairy industry by empowering people, creating partnerships, and increasing the availability and use of resources. Learn more at centerfordairyexcellence.org.