The team, whose members include farmers and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators, received a grant from the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2011 to provide new educational resources and tools to small dairy producers.
The new resources and tools include:
- Financial Bench Marks for Small Dairies: Helps dairies identify the strengths and weaknesses of their farms compared to other farms of similar size in New York State
- Off-Farm Processing Start-Up Fact Sheet: Suggests first steps for dairy farmers considering adding direct sales of value-added dairy products to their business mix
- Web based Geo-Map: Shows all the small dairy processing plants in New York state
- “Small Dairy Case Studies: Highlights unique solutions of how four small dairy operators made decisions to keep their farms profitable
- Production Record-Keeping Book for Grazing Dairies: Formatted and distributed to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) offices statewide by Cornell
- Small Farms Program Small Dairy Team; printing funded by New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative; books are available to grazing dairies at no cost through local CCE office.
- Organic Dairy Forage and Grain Survey: Due to fluctuating precipitation in 2011, many farms were short of forage and grain. This is particularly stressful to organic dairies since they have limited options for buying replacement feed.
Looking ahead to 2012 small dairy programming, the Cornell Small Farms Program is collaborating with educators and farmers to host a series of small dairy field days through late Spring and Summer. Topics include everything from incorporating new value added products to improving nutrition to producing on-farm biodiesel.
Source: Cornell Small Farms Program