Northeast Dairy Farmers, Experts Discuss Innovation, Progress, at 2019 Vermont Dairy Producers Conference
Celebrating 20 Years of Dairy Industry Education
Northeast Dairy Farmers, Industry Experts Discuss Innovation, Progress, at 2019 Vermont Dairy Producers Conference
(Burlington, VT) – Dairy farmers from across Vermont and New England gathered in Burlington Tuesday to discuss the latest news, trends, and economic outlooks for the region’s dairy industry. The 2019 Vermont Dairy Producers Conference (VDPC) was an opportunity for farmers in the Northeast to network, learn, and support each other in working towards success in 2019 and beyond.
A panel of top industry experts was on hand to cover a range of topics vital to dairy farming. From cow care improvements, to the importance of dairy exports and their impacts locally – having these experts in Vermont allows dairy farmers to learn without having to travel too far from their farms – important in an industry that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As technologies, practices and financials change, dairy farmers in the northeast look to evolve along with them.
The conference is a chance to gauge the pulse of the dairy industry in the Northeast. Despite low milk prices and economic challenges, dairy farmers across the country remain stewards of the land, are animal care experts, and are dedicated to producing a healthy and nutritious product to help feed a growing world.
“Twenty years of education at this conference is important to highlight. It’s a testament to the farmers in the northeast – they are dedicated to continuing their education and improving the ways they care for their lands, their animals and their businesses,” stated Joanna Lidback, a Northeast Kingdom dairy farmer and the Conference Committee Chair. “Dairy farmers are proud to produce a quality product, one that can be produced year-round here in Vermont.”
And in an age where consumers want to know not only where their food comes from, but how it’s being produced, farmers constantly improve the quality of life for their cows. “Dairy producers are in the business of making milk, but that doesn’t come at the expense of their cows. Farmers understand that the more comfortable and healthier their cows are, the more productive they will be. Farmers are making investments in their facilities to give their herds room to eat, sleep, socialize and relax, “said conference speaker Dr. Trevor Devries of Yankee Farm Credit.
Each year brings new challenges. It’s why farmers work and coordinate with industry experts to tackle those difficulties head-on. Being resilient and staying positive were the focuses of Laura Daniels’ discussion, “I’m here on the east coast Tuesday, and the west coast Wednesday, one thing in common I see across the country is the fact that everyone in the dairy business is facing challenges right now, and everyone in the dairy business are passionate about what they do,” explained Daniels, a midwestern dairy farmer, consultant and 2019 conference speaker. “That’s why I think resiliency is so important in our industry. Dairy farmers need to take action, we cannot stick our heads in the sand and wait for change. Farmers need to identify those small moments that they can maybe modify, to become more resilient.”
In Vermont, multi-generation dairy farms remain the backbone of the state. Dairy farms directly support 4,000 jobs, and indirectly support another 12,000 in the Green Mountain State. Vermont is home to 16 methane digesters, technology used on dairy farms to recycle manure into renewable energy, and Vermont farmers have planted more than 26,000 acres of cover crops since 2015 – a practice that keeps a growing crop in the ground year-round, keeping important nutrients in the soil.
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.