Grants provide dairy farms with a team approach to decision-making
HARRISBURG, PA – The Center for Dairy Excellence has multiple team program grants available to help dairy producers establish a team approach to decision-making. The team grants allow dairy farmers to form a dairy profit, transition or transformation team that consists of industry experts and trusted advisors. The teams work closely with farms to identify challenges and opportunities and develop plans to move forward.
“We were in the process of thinking about building a new dairy. We were overpopulated, and we had to make some decisions about cow comfort,” said Reid Hoover of Brook-Corner Holsteins in Lebanon, PA. “We were looking at different avenues, and the Center’s Dairy Transformation Team grant helped us pull people together.”
The Dairy Transformation Team grants allow producers to establish an on-farm team to help plan and execute a major business transformation. The grant may also include additional funding if the farm’s plan involves a renewable energy component.
On-farm teams typically consist of the farm’s most trusted advisors, with a facilitator designated to coordinate meetings and workflow. Farms with existing teams or those who want to establish a team to work in an advisory role can receive reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs.
“The team program really helped us when we got into the planning and details. When we had everyone, including our veterinarian and bank, around the table, we actually changed some of our initial ideas because of the discussion we had with the Transformation Team,” Hoover said. “It was exciting to hear from different people who were going to help us in the future describe where they thought we should go. It was very helpful.”
In addition to Transformation Team grants, dairy farm families can also apply for a Profit Team grant through the center. The Profit Team’s function is to work with the farm to address challenges and identify opportunities for greater profitability.
Dairy Transition Team grants are another option for dairy producers who are looking to develop a transition or succession plan. The grant covers the cost of paid team members, discovery-related costs and attorney expenses.
“When you’re making changes, you’re going to have to live with the things you design and the decisions you make for the next couple generations. It’s good to take your time and get different input. That’s where the center’s Team Program was very helpful for us,” Hoover added.
For all grant programs offered by the center, program participants must demonstrate industry and farm commitment by documenting in-kind and financial match contributions to the program reimbursements received. Farms must complete an application and submit the required $100 application fee to participate in the advisory teams.
The center is currently accepting applications for On-Farm Resource Teams. Once approved, farms can utilize the grant to be reimbursed for any qualified expenses incurred from July 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020.