New England Dairy Promotion Board
802-863-5416 Ex. 101
Dairy Farmers Discuss Strategies for Continued Success at Annual Conference
Topics Include Robotic Technologies, Financial Success, Animal Care, and more
(Burlington, VT) – Hundreds of dairy farmers, agricultural companies and industry experts met Tuesday to discuss the latest news and trends surrounding dairy in the region. The 2018 AnnualVermont Dairy Producers Conference (VDPC) is an opportunity for farmers in the Northeast to network, learn, and support each other in working towards success in 2018 and beyond.
The Conference lets dairy farmers in the region hear from a panel of top industry experts without having to travel outside the area; important in an industry that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The VDPC is an chance to gauge the pulse of the dairy industry in the Northeast. Despite the challenges they face, New England dairy farmers are stewards of the land, animal care experts, and work passionately to create healthy food for our growing world.
“Farmers continually look for innovative ways to be more efficient and sustainable – this conference delivered helpful new perspectives we can use to remain competitive,” said Richard Hall, of Fairmont Farm in East Montpelier, the 2017 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year.
Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts was on hand to address the farmers. Growing up and still living on a farm himself, Secretary Tebbetts commends the passion and care dairy farmers show day after day. “We are asking farmers to do more than they ever have. And that’s a fact. Behind the scenes farmers are working for quality. Cutting edge technology is becoming the norm, from our waste-management systems, to cover crops to protect our waterways and lands.”
As technologies, practices, and financials continue to change in our evolving world, dairy farmers in the Northeast look to stay on the cutting-edge. The conference focuses on anything and everything impacting the dairy industry and its hard-working farmers, from animal health, to new technologies.
Speaker Dr. Katy Proudfoot of Yankee Farm Credit discussed ways to increase success on the farm. Whether it’s in the barn or the field, farmers want to operate a maximum efficiency, explained Dr. Proudfoot.
Robotic milking consultant Jack Rodenburg explained the increasing popularity of robotic systems for many farms across the nation. While the model doesn’t fit every farm, it can be a benefit or some, “Robotic milking has become popular for two reasons I think. One, lifestyle. It makes the job more flexible. With this it doesn’t really matter what time in the morning and night now you go to the barn,“ explained Rodenburg. “And two, it is also economically driven. After upfront costs, robotic milking is very quickly economical on smaller farms, and even onto some larger farms.”
While dairy farming is a vitally important industry, there’s no doubt it can be a stressful one. It’s why Mack Dryden, a speaker, actor, and comedian, reminded attendees to find joy in their day. Dryden kept farmers laughing with his humor-filled message on staying positive.
Vermont’s dairy industry generates $2.2 billion in economic activity for the Green Mountain State. Six to seven thousand jobs in Vermont can be directly tied to dairy. Ensuring the success of the industry in Vermont impacts more than just the farmers themselves explained Conference Organizer and dairy farmer Eric Clifford. “From the seasoned dairy farmers to the next generation of agricultural students, we all have a shared goal to strengthen the dairy industry,” Clifford said. “By working together we’re strengthening our future and the economy in Vermont.”
The Vermont Dairy Producers Association Committee is a farmer driven coalition focused on presenting relevant and progressive information to Vermont’s dairy farmers by offering highly renowned speakers to share their knowledge and expertise. Their goals are to preserve the industry for future generations they may enjoy a rewarding, fulfilling and comfortable standard of living and to promote dairy agriculture as a respectful and professional life to the consumers of dairy.