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Dairy Task Force seeks new farm teams

The Vermont Dairy Task Force, through various partnerships, farmers, and cooperatives announce the launch of Dairy Management Teams in Vermont. The goal of this program is to enroll 20 -25 farms for 200708. Dairy Management Teams are a new method for management on Vermont dairy farms using a team approach. Dairy farmers involved in the Dairy Management Team program will select their own team of dairy professionals to provide advice and information on farm management priorities to improve profitability on the farm. The farmers and their team will receive training on how best to interact as a group and will be provided a trained facilitator to assist with managing the team in meetings, taking notes, assigning tasks and monitoring progress of the farmer and the team. Similar programs have been implemented in Pennsylvania and Minnesota with excellent results. Participants in the Pennsylvania program saw an improved economic impact of $249/cow after taking part in Dairy Profit Teams. Also in Pennsylvania, participants stated that having a profit team improved communication with agricultural businesses that come to the farm and improved the decision making process. Dairy Management Teams will challenge Vermont dairy farmers to take a hard look at their dairy operations to search out what management area of the farm is affecting profitability. The team will discuss the issues and will provide solutions to the dairy farmer to improve areas affecting profitability. The farmer has the ultimate decision making authority. This program is to make Vermonts good dairy farmers better and the better dairy farmers the best they can be. For farmers to take part in Dairy Management Teams the following will be required: Willingness to share herd and basic financial information (balance sheet, financial ratios) within the team Formal record keeping system for the herd (milk, reproduction, mastitis, replacements, etc.) DHIA/Dairy One records, Dairy Comp 305 or other computerized system Willingness to consider implementation of advice from the team Commitment from farmer and team members for 1 year of the program a minimum of 6 meetings of the team Commitment to complete an assessment for the farm at the beginning, six months in and at the end of the program Information shared with the Dairy Management Team members will be kept confidential and all team members and facilitators will be trained to keep the team functioning at a high level. If you are interested in taking part in a Dairy Management Team, please contact Tony Kitsos for an application to this program by email at Tony.Kitsos@uvm.edu or by phone at 802-524-6501.

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