Empowering dairy farmers to build a cottage industry

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2007: $116,901.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Allison Shauger
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agricultu
Rebecca Robertson
Pennsylvania Assn for Sustainable Agriculture

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, value added

    Proposal abstract:

    PASA proposes a series of educational workshops and trainings over the course of three years, designed to empower farmers and entrepreneurs to develop and market value-added dairy products, including artisan and farmstead cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, butter, cottage cheese, and more. PASA seeks to provide Pennsylvania dairy farmers with the opportunity to diversify farm income through participation in field days, intensive learning programs, and conference tracks and workshops on producing and direct-marketing value-added dairy products. Given that the majority of Pennsylvania dairy farms are relatively small family operations, struggling to make dairy farming viable for the next generation, the demand for practical trainings which offer attractive business options for maintaining the solvency of the family farm is great. The series of value-added dairy programs will provide farmers with the knowledge necessary to develop markets, test recipes, brand their products, and manage for quality. PASA’s value-added dairy programs will be offered statewide, with an emphasis on the western region of Pennsylvania where PASA is leading the Regional Food Infrastructure Network (RFIN) project. RFIN research on current dairy product availability, consumer demands, and accessibility of infrastructure to support new locally-produced foods will enhance PASA’s value-added dairy program by offering services that extend the scope of this project, including business plan development, distribution, and marketing support.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Of the 45 farmers and entrepreneurs who devote serious time, money, and energy to experimenting with developing a value-added dairy product for market, 15 will go on to successfully introduce this product for direct market or wholesale distribution.

    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.