A group of dairy farmers and dairy industry representatives recently launched a new program called DairyVision Vermont to assist and support dairy farm operations in building successful businesses. DairyVision Vermont will organize service provider teams composed of experts in all the aspects of dairy operations to work with individual farms to identify and implement steps to enhance profitable dairy production.
DairyVision Vermont has secured a group of nationally recognized service providers, hired administrative staff and secured funding to launch the program.
Mark Magnan of Magnan Brothers Farm, a Fairfield dairy farmer, and chair of the DairyVision Vermont board, sees the opportunity of the program to grow the Vermont milk supply in an environmentally and financially sound way. Magnan said “Farmers are always mindful of the bottom line and we need to balance our production practices with good environmental stewardship. DairyVision Vermont will help us to develop strong businesses and protect Vermont’s natural resources while we do it.”
Mark Rodgers of Andersonville Farm in West Glover, Vermont and vice-chair of the DairyVision Vermont Board remarked on the need for a comprehensive approach to farm management. “The quality of expertise brought to farms by DairyVision Vermont will grow Vermont’s commodity milk industry. The management teams will help farmers address all the parts of their farm businesses including crops, animal management and employee management. We really need access to the best resources possible as we manage our businesses with an eye on the future.”
Jo Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of the Vermont Economic Development Authority and DairyVision Vermont board membercommented on the value of the program to the state’s economy. “Vermont has invested in the full circle of milk production, from feed producers to milk processors. DairyVision Vermont’s focus on commodity milk production provides support for a vital component of Vermont agriculture, dairy farmers who sell milk to processors. Everything we do to increase the profitably of dairy producers provides value to the entire economy of Vermont.”
Roger Allbee, a former Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, is supporting this important initiative and will be working with Louise Calderwood, the Executive Coordinator of DairyVision Vermont. “When Reg called and asked to me work on development of DairyVision Vermont I knew it was a service that was needed,” Allbee said. “We have a variety of technical assistance programs for farms in Vermont, but DairyVision Vermont is focused on one sector-commodity milk.” Allbee went on to state that any size farm would benefit from the program and its services would be of equal value to conventional or organic dairy farms, “What we are looking for are farmers with forward thinking approaches to their businesses,” Allbee said.
Dr. Joe Klopfenstein and Dr. Rick Bartholomew will head up service provider teams consisting of Bruce Dehm, financial analysis; Tom Eaton and Brian Boerman, forage crop production and environmental protection; and Rick Hermonot, human resources management. Klopfenstein and Bartholomew will provide expertise in herd management and production. Dr. Brian Perkins and Dr. Gregory Bethard will serve as advisors to the service provider teams.
The first round of six farms to enroll in DairyVision Vermont will be selected in early January, 2014 with services scheduled to begin soon after. DairyVision Vermont will pay for one half of participation in the initial business assessment and plan development and the farm business will pay for the remainder. Following the development of the plan, a three to six month process, farms will continue to utilize the teams of DairyVision Vermont service providers to implement and evaluate the strategies identified during the assessment. Applications for DairyVision Vermont are available from Louise Calderwood by calling 802-586-2239 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial and in-kind support of DairyVision Vermont has been provided by 15 individuals and organizations including: Ag Venture Financial Services, Agrimark, Andersonville Farm, Chaput Family Farms, Clifford Farm, Dairy One, Dairy Farmers of America, Dairylea, Magnan Brothers Farm, Miner Institute, Phoenix Feeds, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Vermont Economic Development Authority, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
To learn more about the program and/or to enroll, please contact Louise Calderwood at email@example.com or 802-586-2239.