- Animal Products: dairy
- Education and Training: extension, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, whole farm planning
The goal of this project is to train dairy advisory team members about team management and use of tools in order to first enhance the function of the team and finally improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the dairy farms working with teams. The use of dairy advisory teams has become a common practice for dairy farms throughout the Northeast. While many of those teams show demonstrated benefits to the farm, there are opportunities to expand the use of specific tools with teams to better achieve goals and monitor progress. The Profitability Assessment Tool in particular can help teams to identify key bottlenecks and help the farm to focus changes on areas that will result in the greatest profit. Project leaders will recruit approximately 80 training participants from existing databases of 200 agricultural service providers who are currently dairy advisory team members, create an interactive curriculum and conduct four workshops in Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont. Following the workshops, participants will be encouraged to use the tools and team management skills with their own teams, and then 60 team members will further their learning with discussion sessions via webinar and conference calls with instructors. Last, 80 team members will attend a training workshop and teach 400 dairy farmers who manage 34,000 cows how to use tools to improve: milk production, herd management, income over feed costs, cash flow planning or whole herd profitability.
Performance targets from proposal:
a.Develop a workshop curriculum for in the most effective use of a variety of on farm assessment tools that will be used to train 80 extension educators and agribusiness representative working with 400 dairy farms.(June -September 2012). b.Two hundred workshop invitations will be mailed to active team members in three states.(August 2012-September 2012). c.Eighty trainees will participate in workshops in one of four locations designed to create interest and understanding in using tools on farm teams and learn how to effectively use tools with their teams (October 2012- June 2013) d.The 80 participants will use at least one tool with 5 or more of their team farms, milking approximately 34,000 cows, within six months of initial training(April 2013-December 2013). e.At least 60 participants will take part in feedback sessions conducted through webinars and conference calls, and they will provide information about effective use of tools(September 2013-March 2014). f.At least 50 participants will complete a final survey about the impact of the tool use on both the team and the farm performance. (March 2014-May 2014). Performance Target: Eighty team members will attend a training workshop and teach 400 dairy farmers who manage 34,000 cows how to use tools to improve: milk production, herd management, income over feed costs, cash flow planning or whole herd profitability.