Two organizations, Compeer Financial and the Wisconsin Farmers’ Union, have just announced their sponsorship of a three-day course held April 23-25 in Madison, Wisconsin. The Making More From Milk course offers dairy producers an opportunity to explore various diversification options, and a chance to think about the future of their businesses and their families.
The Wisconsin Farmers’ Union will offer three full course scholarships to their members. Their application form is online at http://globalcow.com/wi_farmers_union_scholarship/.
Compeer Financial is sponsoring $100 discounts to the first ten people who register. The special discounts are included online at the registration form at http://globalcow.com/making-more-from-milk/.
“The course comes out of a desire to provide real, solid information that leads towards some definite action for dairy producers—be they cow, goat or sheep milk producers,” says one of the course organizers, Jill Stahl Tyler from Global Cow. “The speakers who talk to our group don’t sugar coat their own experiences. They are very specific and blunt about the work they’ve put in—and they are relentlessly passionate about their commitment to dairying. We always hear comments back from participants that they never expected to hear such incredible honesty from everyone they talk to during this course. That information is just so valuable when they are dreaming about how to make more from their milk.”
The course includes information from various perspectives, all of which helps a dairy producer think about what his or her niche might be. The focus is on looking into what might work for each specific participant.
The course encourages interactions and creates a supportive environment that often continues after the course concludes. After introductions and an overview of what value-added dairy might mean, the first visits are two “behind-the-scenes”: a retail specialty cheese store and a restaurant that specializes in local foods. “We want the farmers to be able to see their potential products through the eyes of those who work directly with the consumer,” notes the other course organizer, Karen Nielsen of Global Dairy Outreach.
The afternoon of the first day includes four dairy producers. All have found unique ways to bring their dairy products to market or bring tourists to their farm. The second day takes participants off-site, traveling to visit three locations where farmers have successfully found ways to add value to dairy and “make more from their milk”. They include a goat farm and two cow farms, and their retail operations —and much wisdom from their experiences.
The final day looks at next steps: thinking about unique marketing positions, equipment and supplies, financial resources, grants, food safety and regulations, business planning and resources to consult as the course participants move forward with their plans.
“The course is a true highlight of our year,” agree Nielsen and Stahl Tyler.
Complete details are available at http://globalcow.com/making-more-from-milk/.