Improving the Welfare of Southeastern Dairy Families Through the Adoption of Sustainable Production Systems

2012 Annual Report for LS11-243

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2011: $294,409.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Grant Recipient: University of Georgia
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Dennis Hancock
Univ. of Georgia

Improving the Welfare of Southeastern Dairy Families Through the Adoption of Sustainable Production Systems


Barriers to Pasture-based Dairying

The survey instrument related to this objective has been completed and will be mailed by July 1, 2013. Data collection should be completed by fall. Data should be analyzed and results tabulated by summer 2014.

Objectives/Performance Targets


Dairy Benchmarking
In 2011 there were seven farms that signed up for the benchmarking service. This number is considerably less than the program goal. Several reasons contribute to the lack of participation including producer reluctance personnel changes related to the original collaborators.

It should be noted that the farms presented here are a mixture of conventional and grazing/hybrid dairy farms. Because of the small sample size, it is impossible to make any inferences as to which production system is the most profitable.
Curiously, most of the farms have a relatively low depreciation and interest expense percentage of dollars generated. This is most likely due to the fact that most of the farms have a very low debt-to-asset ratio. It is also worth acknowledging that that the mean ROA is a very strong 34%. Again, this is likely a sampling issue.
To bolster enrollment in the benchmarking program, project collaborators are taking every opportunity to promote the program. Even though the sign-up has been less than desired, there have been some beneficial outcomes already.
As a result of the recruitment effort, one of the project collaborators was invited to deliver a series of workshops on farm financial management to dairy farmers in Georgia. In January through March 2013, six of these workshops were conducted in Georgia to approximately 100 dairy farmers, their families, and related agribusiness people.
The project team intends to build on this momentum to enroll more producers and expand the benchmarking program.
In 2013, the team intends to do the following:
1) Complete the 2012 financial analysis
2) Meet with the producer advisory committee to determine some ways to increase enrollment.
3) Continue promoting the program.


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes


Keith Kightlinger
Farm Business Mgmt. Spec
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics
2360 Rainwater Road
Tifton, GA 31793
Office Phone: 2293863512
Dr. Albert DeVries
University of FLorida
Department of Animal Sciences
PO Box 110910
Gainesville, FL 32611
Office Phone: 3523925594
Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim
Fort Valley State University
1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Office Phone: 4788256262
Audrey Luke-Morgan
Agrbusiness Mgmt. Spec.
Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development
2360 Rainwater Road
Tifton, GA 31793
Office Phone: 2293863512
Jeremy Kichler
County Extension Agent
Macon County Extension
P.O. Box 486
Oglethorpe, GA 31068
Office Phone: 4784727588
Dr. Mary Sowerby
University of Florida
1302 11th Street SW
Live Oak, FL 32064
Office Phone: 3863622771