Empowering Dairy Farms through Technology Education

Project Overview

Project Type: Education Only
Funds awarded in 2024: $27,088.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: University of Georgia
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Jillian Bohlen
University of Georgia


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Economic viability and labor shortages are consistently listed in
the top three issues cited by dairy farmers and represent
significant challenges for farmer well-being and farm
sustainability.   While the industry and academia
partners work on building a more resilient industry through
improved management and workforce development projects,
technology offers another means by which to mitigate labor issues
and improve dairy farm viability.  Technology is a large,
overarching term in the dairy industry that describes
advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, precision
monitoring, and robust data set interpretation while potentially
allowing for reduced human labor capital, improved animal
oversight, and more effective environmental resource utilization.
Example technologies include systems for animal health
monitoring, reproductive attentions, methane digesters, digital
identification and tracking, and automated systems for calf and
cow feeding and cow milking.  However, technological
adoption is not advancing at the same rate among certain dairy
communities as technological innovation.  Adoption trends
vary greatly between farmers and are biased by age, years
farming, size of operation, accessibility to technology support,
and perceived benefits among others. Therefore, this project aims
to 1) gauge the interest, hurdles, and bottlenecks with
technology implementation on dairy farms in the Georgia, 2)
provide workshops open to farmers in SSARE states on available
technologies, methods for technology implementation, economic
decision support, and potential funding resources for technology
adoption, 3) allow for farmer exposure through on farm site
visits to see technology at work and get farmer perspective on
the pros, cons, and payback of their technology choices, and 4)
develop peer farmer networks offer additional means of technology
support and improve farmer well-being.  These aims will be
met by a pre- program survey, which will assess farmer
perceptions and understanding.  This survey will also
identify specific areas of concentration for the educational
curriculum.  The survey will be followed by a workshop and
farm visit series where the first series will focus on low
financial input technologies and the second on higher financial
input technologies.  At the conclusion of each series, a
post survey will capture changes in previous thoughts and
potential to adopt technology.  Though this project focuses
on appropriate exposure and education of farmers, it is
anticipated that educated decisions regarding increased
technological adoption in the SSARE states has the potential to
improve dairy farm economic viability, improve animal welfare,
reduce environmental impacts

Project objectives from proposal:

This project aims to identify and overcome barriers to
technological adoption among dairy farmers in the SSARE states to
improve farm sustainability with the following objectives:

  1. Identify regional challenges with technological adaptation on
    dairy farms.
  2. Educate and provide resources to dairy farmers effective
    implementation of technology through a collaborative workshop
  3. Expose farmers to technologies while exploring financial
    implications in an experiential farm visit.
  4. Develop peer farmer networks to enhance farmer resources,
    build technology support structures, and improve well-being in
    the dairy community.
  5. Evaluate the perceived pre/post program benefits to
    technology on farms as well as likelihood for technological
    implementation following program curriculum.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.