Education and decision support strategy for farm-level economic and environmental assessment of dairy Best Management Practices

2012 Annual Report for LNE12-321

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2012: $162,327.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Dr. R Weaver
Penn State Univ

Education and decision support strategy for farm-level economic and environmental assessment of dairy Best Management Practices


Oct – Dec 2012

Project funding arrived for spending access to PI in mid-October 2012. During remaining months of 2012, project staffing was re-initiated given new start date. Graduate student research assistants were identified and interviewed. Project meetings were held to re-configure work plan and establish meeting schedules with farm operator co-operators. A dozen diary farm operators were identified that satisfy project needs and who are willing to participate. Major effort was initiated in the design of the econTool. Existing digital tools that support dairy farm management were identified and reviewed to establish key features, data entry requirements and modes, and platform accessibility. Meetings with farm operators were scheduled for January to introduce the project and set the foundation for an ongoing relationship.

Objectives/Performance Targets

From the proposal:
Performance Target – What we hope to affect.
20 dairy farm operators adopt use of the eEtool to support evaluation, monitoring, and analysis of BMPs on their farms. This will lead to adjustment in conservation and nutrient management plans covering close to 2000 acres of field crops, 2000 cows annually yielding 1.5 million lbs of raw milk per year.

No milestones were achieved as none were set for the first two months of the project activity. During those months, project staff identified 15 farms that will participate in the project and scheduled meetings for the first month of 2013 to pursue month 3 milestones noted in the proposal Table 1.


12 Dairy farms were recruited for participation in the project.
Project staffing was established with bringing on board Holley Weeks, an experienced dairy herd manager with B.S. Dairy and Animal Science. Ms. Weeks will pursue a DAS MS at Penn State while working on the project.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

No impacts on beneficiaries have been achieved to date. A review of existing dairy farm management tools was completed and will be prepared for distribution in the coming year.


Robert Goodling

[email protected]
Cooperative Extension Associate
Penn State University
349 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802
Office Phone: 7172704391
Dr. Virginia Ishler

[email protected]
Professor of Animal Science
Dairy & Animal Science
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802
Office Phone: 8148633912