HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Center for Dairy Excellence is offering multiple grants for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to provide dairy farmers with a team approach to decision-making. The team grants allow dairy farmers to establish a dairy profit, transition or transformation team that consists of industry experts and trusted advisors. The Dairy Decisions Consultants grants provide dairy farm families with professional consulting resources to help make decisions that shape the future of their farm. The application period for both programs opens on September 1, 2019.
“When dairy farms are faced with uncertainty and volatility in the marketplace like we’ve seen over the last few years, a team of advisors can help producers identify challenges and a path forward,” said Melissa Anderson, Programs and Operations Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence.
On-farm teams typically consist of the farm’s most trusted advisors, with a facilitator designated to coordinate meetings and workflow. Farms with existing teams or those who want to establish a team to work in an advisory role can receive reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs.
Three types of teams are available to dairy farm families:
- Dairy Profit Teams: The Profit Team’s function is to serve as a group of advisors for the farm, addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for greater profitability.
- Dairy Transition Teams: This team is designed to help farms develop a transition or succession plan. The grant covers the cost of paid team members, discovery-related costs and attorney expenses.
- Dairy Transformation Teams: This option allows producers to establish a team to help plan and execute a major business transformation. The grant may also include additional funding if the farm’s plan involves a renewable energy component.
“The Dairy Profit Team helped guide our thoughts as we planned how to operate our dairy efficiently and create enough return to allow our son to join us in partnership,” said Phoebe Bitler of Vista Grande Farms in Fleetwood, Pa. “The Profit Team concept helped us bring our most important industry support persons to the table at the same time. This provided a forum to share and build plans using their knowledge and experience.”
In addition to the on-farm team grants, the Center provides Dairy Decisions Consultants grants. Farms who are accepted into the program are paired with an experienced consultant who helps enhance business performance and reach financial benchmarks, explore new business opportunities, or develop a strong employee relations and development plan.
For all grant programs offered by the Center, program participants must demonstrate industry and farm commitment by documenting in-kind and financial match contributions to the program reimbursements received. Farms must complete an application and submit the required $100 application fee to participate in the advisory teams.
The Center will accept applications for On-Farm Resource Teams and Dairy Decisions Consultants Grants beginning September 1, 2019. Once approved, farms can utilize the grant to be reimbursed for any qualified expenses incurred from July 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence