HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Center for Dairy Excellence has three grant opportunities available for dairy producers who are looking to improve profitability, create a transition plan, or plan a major business transformation. Through the Center’s On-Farm Resource Program, the 2020-21 grants allow dairy producers to establish on-farm teams and take advantage of professional consulting resources to make strategic decisions at the farm level. A limited amount of grants are available on a first come, first serve basis.
There are three types of team grants available: Dairy Profit Team, Dairy Transition Team, or Dairy Transformation Team. Each team consists of industry experts and trusted advisors, and the Center leverages funds provided through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide these grants to individual farms.
“The Transformation Team Grant helped us do some number crunching on our old step-up parlor, which was 16 years old at that point. We realized by saving time in employee labor, we could pay the debt service on a newly constructed parlor,” said Andy Bollinger of Meadow Spring Farm in Lititz, Pa., a previous grant recipient. “The program also helped us to secure another grant, which helped us address some manure run-off concerns on the farm,”
Learn more about each type of team grant and the types of questions they can help dairy producers answer:
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 farms can receive up to $1,500 in reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs.
- Are there bottlenecks on our dairy farm?
- What strategies can we put in place to improve profitability?
- Are there new opportunities for our operation that we haven’t considered?
Dairy Transition Teams: This team is designed to help farms develop a transition or succession plan. The grant covers up to $3,500 of the cost of paid team members, discovery-related costs and attorney expenses.
- What should our transition/succession plan look like?
- How do we create a plan that’s fair to everyone involved?
- How do we navigate the transfer of assets and ensure we will receive value from the farm in the future?
Dairy Transformation Teams: This option allows producers to establish a team to help plan and execute a major business transformation. Farms can receive up to $3,500 to establish a team to help plan and work through their transformation. Manure storage facility improvements do not qualify as eligible Transformation Team projects.
- Is this idea a good fit for our dairy operation? What factors should we consider before moving forward?
- How do we navigate some of the new requirements for this transformation?
- How do we protect ourselves and our employees during the project?
On-farm teams 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.
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.
Limited grants are available for the 2020-21 year and are available on a first come, first serve basis. Once approved, farms can utilize the grant to be reimbursed for any qualified expenses incurred from July 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence