Organic Dairy Short Course for Ag Professionals

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $66,250.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Meg Moynihan
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: general education and training

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will improve the ability of public and private sector agricultural educators and advisors to serve organic and transitional organic dairy producers. Primary target participants include Extension educators, veterinarians, veterinary students, lenders, farm business management instructors, state dairy inspectors and other state/federal agency regulators. In addition, we would like to reach paraprofessional mentor farmers, county feedlot officers, agricultural news and feature and industry consultants. During this two-year program, four day-long trainings in Minnesota and two trainings in Wisconsin will encourage participation and local applicability of information. Use of farmer and peer session leaders whose backgrounds and expertise are credible to participants will maximize learning. Participants will gain insights, skills, technical information, and professional relationships that will help prepare and motivate them to better serve organic dairy farmers. Short-term desired outcomes include increased interested in and knowledge about organic dairy opportunities and practices. Intermediate desired outcomes include working with organic and transitioning dairy farmers and interacting with peers about organic topics. End-of-session and follow-up evaluation will provide information about changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of participants, as well as about further interests and needs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Projected Outputs and Outcomes

    1. Six day long trainings; four in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin
    2. 180 participants who have a better understanding of the principles and opportunities in organic dairy farming, and who are more able and receptive to working with transitioning and organic producers.
    3. New peer relationships among attendees, among presenters, among planners and implementers of the training program and the agencies/institutions they represent.
    4. Stronger relationships and more interaction between and among the SFA “alternative” MDI team and regional teams elsewhere in the state.
    5. Reference cards containing concise resource material indexed by topic for participants to use on the job and share with colleagues.
    6. Stronger relationships among MN and WI team members.


    Short term: 180 participants…
    ST-1: …are aware of the prevalence and distribution of organic dairy farming in MN and WI
    ST-2: …are aware that federal rules govern organic dairy farming.
    ST-3: …are aware of health and veterinary strategies that are permitted and not permitted
    ST-4: …are informed about existing health, production, and economic data about organic dairy.
    ST-4: …know about 5-10 reliable sources of information that pertain to organic dairy and dairy production.
    ST-5: …understand dairy producer motivations for transitioning to organic and the challenges they face.

    Intermediate term: 180 agricultural professionals will…
    IT-1: …accept that organic is a viable dairy production system.
    IT-2: …share knowledge and interact about organic dairy with peers and colleagues.
    IT-3: …begin to interact with and provide appropriate technical assistance or information to organic and transitioning dairy producers or refer them to appropriate sources,
    IT-4: increased interaction and collaboration among core and event team members occurs based on relationships built among project team members leads during this effort.

    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.