During the next few days, DairyVision Vermont will select its first six dairy farms to benefit from skilled advisory teams with the goal of building stronger, more successful dairy businesses. It's the brainchild of Vermont dairy farm leaders, patterned after similar highly successful programs in New York and Pennsylvania.
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, says Reg Chaput of Chaput Family Farms at North Troy, Vt. He spearheaded an advisory group for the industry-supported effort over the last year.
"As a dairy farmer, I know what it takes to manage the many areas of a farm business. We saw the opportunity to bring the highest level of expertise to Vermont to strengthen the commodity milk industry
"The dairy industry operates in a global market. To keep our competitive edge, we really need to hone our business skills and management abilities," says Chaput. "DairyVision Vermont will give farmers the tools needed to do just that. We're excited about what this program could mean to Vermont's dairy industry and to processors looking to do business in Vermont."
Mark Magnan of Magnan Brothers Farm, at Fairfield, Vt., also serving on the DairyVision Vermont board, sees the opportunity of the program to grow the Vermont milk supply in an environmentally and financially sound way. "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."
The first round of six farms to enroll will be selected in early January, with services scheduled to begin soon after, explains Louise Calderwood, DairyVision Vermont's executive coordinator. The organization will pay for half of participation in the initial business assessment and plan development with the farms covering the rest. Following plan development, the farms will continue using the advisory teams to evaluate their progress.
More farms to benefit
Any sized farm would benefit from the program, says Roger Allbee, former Vermont Ag Secretary. Its services would be of equal value to conventional or organic dairy farms.
Applications for future rounds of DairyVision Vermont are available from Calderwood by calling 802-586-2239 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Financial and in-kind support is being 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, 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.