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Dairy Profit Discussion Groups for Enhanced Profitability and Productivity of New York Dairy Farms

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sector: Dairy
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 4/1/2015 - 9/30/2016
Amount Awarded: $16,520.00
Lead Organization: Cornell University
Project Leader: Kathy Barrett
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Proposal Abstract

 The objective of the profit focus group project is to increase the profitability of New York dairy businesses through the creation of dairy profit discussion groups. There have been over a 100 different groups formed in the last 4 years, impacting over 1300 farmers and 300,000 cows.  In the first year alone there was a reported $800,000 increase on in profitability reported on 8 farms.  The groups promote effective use of management strategies, implementation of appropriate technology and monitoring of production and economic parameters. They represent the diversity in both geography and production management systems that characterizes the New York dairy industry. Agribusiness professionals and extension educators have been and will continue to be recruited as group facilitators and will form dairy farmer discussion groups that will self-identify specific goals for their groups that are consistent with the overall goals for the NY Farm Viability Institute. The program has been successful in forming groups that cover the broad spectrum of management practices as well as geography of the NY dairy industry. Ongoing support for these groups will continue to be a major focus for this project. In addition to dairy discussion groups a small amount of funding is requested for agricultural discussion groups that go beyond dairy, i.e. field crops, organic including both dairy and livestock farmers, returning veterans who are beginning livestock farmers.

Final Report Summary Statement


The Dairy Profit Discussion Groups for Enhanced Profitability program impacted 222 farmer participants representing approximately 58,350 milking cows and 48,545 heifers. Farm management styles ranged from organic grazing dairies to large freestall dairy dairies.  Groups were self-directed and topics covered reflected the range of dairy farm management and  farm complexity. 

Farmer participants reported decreased expenses and increased income of $160,000 due to improved milk quality. Another farm reported that  changes in transition cow and reproduction management resulted in an additional $180,000/year in profit for that farm.  Other participants reported farm level changes that are difficult to quantify.  These include better cow management, employee retention and promotion, improved cow health and production.

The Dairy Profit Discussion Groups for Enhanced Profitability has afforded farmers and farm staff the opportunity to learn from each other and improve farm profitability and sustainability.


Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 222

Increase in Gross Farm Revenue: $340,000.00

Presentations: 120

Workshops: 10

Total Producers Engaged: 222

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