The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection encourages farmers to apply now for the Dairy Farm Management Team program. This program is designed to assist producers with future planning to innovate and modernize their farms to increase profitability.
"Dairy Farm Management Teams are an additional tool producers can use to improve their operating efficiency by identifying challenges and opportunities," said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. "The purpose of this program is to help dairy farmers strengthen their management tools and provide the resources needed to move forward."
Participating producers will work with a facilitator, who will bring together a team of professionals tailored to the farm's individual situation. The management team may include lenders, agronomists, nutritionists, veterinarians, and other specialists. Over three meetings, the team will discuss issues, develop a strategy, and provide input for decision-making and long-term planning. Technology, growth, herd health, milk quality, financial success, and sustainability are some issues that may be considered.
The cost-share program will provide up to $2,000 to cover costs such as consultant fees and agronomic, milk quality, or veterinary testing. Capital expenses are not eligible. Farmers will contribute 10 percent of these costs as part of the program.
All Wisconsin dairy farmers, who do not already have management team advisors in place, are eligible to apply, regardless of herd size or set-up. The application is only one page.
Sixty-five Dairy Farm Management Teams have been formed since this program launched in late 2009.
"I have successfully used the Dairy Farm Management Team program with many of my producers," said Scott Gunderson, the Manitowoc County UW-Extension Dairy Agent and a facilitator for a number of teams. "The team partnerships built through this program can continue after the three meetings, as long as they wish or need, on their own terms to identify and implement new avenues to consider on the dairy farm."
This program is made possible through the Value Added Dairy Initiative, which is funded by a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service. In-kind contributions are provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and DATCP. The Dairy Farm Management Team program is a joint effort of DATCP; the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Dairy 2020 program; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Dairy Team, Farm and Risk Management Team, and Center for Dairy Profitability; and Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
For application materials, visit http://www.growwisconsindairy.org/apply_grants/dairy_management/default.asp. For questions or more information, contact Jim Cisler at [email protected] or 608-224-5137.