Dairy cow
WHERE TO FROM HERE? That’s what many dairy farmers are wondering. New survey may help generate answers.

Attention dairy farmers: Your input is needed

Your plans and limitations for dairy’s future on your farm are important to the industry’s future.

It’s no secret: Dairy farmers and their industry partners are looking for better ways to milk more profit from milk and keep dairy farms in business. It’s a national issue, especially with farms from Wisconsin to the East Coast suddenly finding they have no place to ship milk.

Last week, in “Dairy roundtables seek input,” American Agriculturist reported that Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence was hosting meetings this week to collect feedback and input on resources to direct the future of the state’s dairy industry. A broader producer study is also underway, and Pennsylvania dairy farmers are urged to complete it. Here are the details:

More than 6,500 Pennsylvania dairy farms received the “2017 Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Producer Survey” in the mail early this month. It’s conducted every five years to develop a baseline of trends and changes occurring within the dairy industry. The data also contributes to a comprehensive dairy industry study identifying growth opportunities and inhibitors.

The project is being jointly conducted by Charles Nicholson, assistant professor of supply chain systems in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University; Andrew Novakovic, Cornell University ag economist; and Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at University of Wisconsin. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Center for Dairy Excellence partner in supporting it.

The four-page survey should be returned by July 1. If you don’t recall getting it, directions at the end of this article will tell you how to download it or complete it online.

“Dairy farmers continue to face increasingly more challenges to producing milk and managing their farm businesses,” acknowledges Jayne Sebright, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence. “The producer survey provides an avenue for dairy farmers to voice their input and share their plans and needs, which will be considered in planning future dairy programs and services.”

What’s inside
The survey includes questions on the milking herd, production acres, operational structure and future plans for the dairy farm. It asks about the most limiting factors to increasing the size of your dairy operation and about plans you might have for expanding during the next five years. It also asks you to rate the most important factors necessary for any expansion.

The data will be aggregated to identify trends and needs. Your individual responses will remain anonymous.

Fill out the e-survey online. Or download a PDF version you can print and submit by mail. Again, the deadline for survey submissions is Saturday, July 1. For more information, call the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or visit centerfordairyexcellence.org.

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