The second round of funding through the Dairy Excellence Grant Program is now open, and Pennsylvania dairy farmers have until Oct. 15 to submit an application.
The program is ideal for producers who want to improve cow comfort, milk production per cow or overall efficiency on their dairy farm. Leveraging funds provided through the commonwealth, this is a competitive grant program that offers up to a 50% grant — up to a maximum matching level of $5,000 — to dairy farms approved into the program.
Winning applicants will be notified by Nov. 20.
What projects can be funded?
Improvement projects can include anything related to improving dairy farm efficiency, cow comfort, milking facilities, housing facilities or feeding systems. The project should focus on improving milk production per cow or enhancing overall farm profitability and efficiency.
During the first round of funding, the center awarded $400,000 to 80 dairy producers in the state. A total of 18,925 Pennsylvania dairy cows were affected by these improvement projects. Herd sizes ranged from about 50 cows to 2,000 cows.
Dairy producers who received the grants have used the funds to upgrade feed bunks, install new crowd gates, invest in new mattresses and more.
Additional examples of applicable projects include fans, sprinklers or misters in freestall or tiestall barns; curtains or other ventilation improvements; mattresses or construction to move to deep-bedded sand stalls; variable speed pulsation; and cow brush or foot bath installation.
What you need to apply
To participate, dairy farms must complete an application. A $100 application fee is required upon submission, but the money will be reimbursed if the application is not accepted.
As part of the application process, producers will be required to:
- Know their cost of production.
- Be compliant with the National FARM Program or a similar program.
- Have a conservation and nutrient management plan in place.
- List two consultants or advisers who work with the farm (nutritionist, accountant, veterinarian).
- Explain how the improvement will help the overall operation and aid in milk production per cow, efficiency or cow comfort.
Dairy farm businesses or individuals receiving the Dairy Excellence grant during fiscal 2020-21 are not eligible to receive a Dairy Excellence grant in this round. Those who applied for a Dairy Excellence grant in 2020-21 but were not accepted into the program are eligible to apply in this round.
To apply, visit centerfordairyexcellence.org to submit your application online or download a printed application to mail back.
For more information, contact Melissa Anderson at [email protected] or 717-636-0779.