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Competition highlights value-added dairyCompetition highlights value-added dairy

Northeast Notebook: Vermont no-till conference planned; organic dairy conference set.

February 17, 2023

5 Min Read
White yogurt packages on a production line in a dairy farm
VALUE-ADDED COMPETITION: The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports food innovators in launching products from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast. Cylonphoto/Getty Images

A new competition for producers of value-added dairy products is now open for applications.

The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports food innovators in launching products from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast and gives dairy entrepreneurs, including those making products on organic and small farms, access to entrepreneurial and technical support. 

With $365,000 in awards, both finalists and winners will receive funding and technical support to bring their value-added products to market. This initiative fast-tracks innovative products reaching the market while increasing the utilization of milk produced in the Northeast. 

The competition is produced by Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement in partnership with the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center. Supported by a $1 million grant from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, the competition gives participants early-stage incubation assistance from Cornell’s leading business and food processing faculty; access to Cornell’s Food Processing and Development Laboratory; industry mentorship; and training on product prototyping and optimization, food safety and compliance, and business planning. 

Finalists will receive $20,000, and winners will receive an additional $55,000 and be given a presence at the Dairy Innovation Showcase at the 2023 Grow-NY Summit in upstate New York. 

“This competition provides an on-ramp to entrepreneurship for people passionate about meeting customer needs with high-quality dairy products. Thanks to the support from the NE-DBIC, we are providing the resources needed to grow and scale their dairy product businesses,” said Jenn Smith, director of food and ag startup programs at Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement.  

The competition is open to all food innovators, including small and organic farms, nonprofits and dairy co-ops located in the U.S. that use or commit to using milk or dairy ingredients produced from dairies in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont in their production. 

To learn more about the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition, visit dairyinnovation.org.

To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit crea.cornell.edu.

Vermont no-till conference

The 2023 No-Till and Cover Crop Conference, set for March 2 in South Burlington, Vt., will provide information and research updates to farmers and field crop growers on cover crop and manure management.

The conference is being put on by University of Vermont Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program, and the Champlain Valley Crop, Soil and Pasture Team. It will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 870 Williston Road, South Burlington. Invited speakers hail from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Registration is $75 — $50 for students — payable by Feb. 24 at go.uvm.edu/2023ntcc.

Aaron Ristrow, American Farmland Trust, will open the conference with a talk on the Genesee River Demonstration Farms Network in western New York, and biomass productivity and decreased inputs from planting green.

He will be followed by Kirsten Workman, Cornell University, with a discussion on cover crop alternatives to winter rye, and Glen Arnold, Ohio State University Extension, on precision manure management. Arnold also will speak on manure management and sidedressing in corn.

Donn Branton, a New York farmer and early adopter of reduced-till and no-till methods, is the luncheon speaker. He will share cover crop and no-till experiences and innovations on his 1,750-acre crops and vegetable farm in Le Roy, N.Y.

Afternoon speakers include Eric Severy of Matthew's Trucking, a Vermont manure hauling and application business, on local manure management; and Gerard Troisi, a Pennsylvania crop adviser, on no-till with cover crop practices in central Pennsylvania.

UVM researchers will provide updates on cover crop and manure management research, and projects being conducted at the university.

Organic dairy conference set 

Farmers who register for the 2023 Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference will learn about strategies to manage high feed costs, satellite imagery for better pasture management, and research on bedding and mastitis, among other topics.

The 11th annual conference will be held March 9 in Judd Hall on the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph Center. It is sponsored by University of Vermont Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils Program.

The registration fee is $25 and includes lunch. Registrations will be accepted until March 6 at go.uvm.edu.

The conference will open with a presentation by Greg Brickner, a staff veterinarian and grazing specialist for Organic Valley in Wisconsin. He will describe new satellite imagery technology that will allow graziers to predict pasture inventory weeks in advance and monitor plant health in paddocks.

Sarah Flack, a Vermont grazing consultant specializing in grass-based livestock farming systems, and Jen Miller, farmer services director at NOFA-VT, will follow his talk with a discussion on key production and financial benchmarks.

They will be joined by two organic dairy farmers, one organic and one grass-fed, who will discuss their experiences with the variables, considerations and management decisions that affect those benchmarks on their individual farms.

The morning program will conclude with updates on UVM research with Heather Darby, UVM Extension agronomist, and Sarah Ziegler, a UVM research specialist.

After lunch and time to visit with exhibitors, participants will hear from Bill Kipp about ways organic dairy producers can manage high feed costs in the coming year. Kipp is an independent dairy consultant from Middlebury with more than 40 years of experience consulting with conventional and organic dairy farmers about field nutrition and holistic farm management.

Byrony Sands, a postdoctoral research fellow at UVM, will share information on her ongoing research in Vermont and New York, which examines the impact of various parasite management strategies on the interactions between pests, parasites, beneficial insects and soil health in pasture ecosystems.

The program will conclude with a talk by Brickner on major health challenges on pasture during the grazing season and solutions that fit organic standards.

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