While the dairy industry has been engaged in improving environmental sustainability, projects aimed at this goal can be both costly and capital intensive. During the July 21 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, panelists were tasked with answering the question, “How can farmers invest in long-term projects when the market for those practices might be different in five to 10 years?”
“I think the uncertainty is a real impediment to this type of investment,” Cornell University’s Chris Wolf shared. “There’s what an economist would call an option value in waiting to see how things will shake out before making the investment.”
The key to finding the right opportunities for investing in environmental sustainability lies in capturing incentivized programs.
“There are state and federal incentives,” Wolf explained. “Anytime that one lines up with the general direction you are moving, then farms should be aware of what incentives might be available through Farm Service Agency (FSA) or tax credits through the state or other things of that nature.”
Neither Wolf nor fellow panelist Jamie Vander Molen believe the movement toward more environmental sustainability projects will wane.
“I don’t think consumer preference is backing down on their sustainability preferences, so I think you can continue to see these markets drive forward,” shared Vander Molen, who works for Newtrient
“The question is: How far are we going to go and what kind of things are we going to put in?” Wolf asked. “Hopefully, we’re going to put in programs that allow farms to use their own competitive advantages to adapt to them.
“Instead of defining practices, let farmers figure it out because if you tell them what needs to get done, farmers are really good at figuring out how to get it done the most efficient way for themselves,” he concluded.
To watch the recording of the July 21 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
An ongoing series of events
The next broadcast of DairyLivestream will be on Wednesday, August 4 at 11 a.m. CDT. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here for free. Registering once registers you for all future events.