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Dairy Farm Cohort Technical Assistance Contract

Contract Overview

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) seeks multiple contractors to offer cohort-based technical assistance for dairy farmers in one or more of the areas: increased grazing quality or quantity, home-grown forage enhancement, alternative herd management, innovative staffing and business management, and marketing and education of dairy production practices. Each cohort will consist of at least 5 dairy farms and will be available for enrollment to farms based in one or more states within New England, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Contractor expectations are as follows: 

  • Recruit dairy farmers for the cohort group.
  • Host on-farm cohort learning opportunities.
  • Provide one-on-one technical assistance to cohort members.
  • Work with participant farmers to determine if their project would benefit from NE-DBIC grant funds to implement project activities. If so, support farms in developing a grant plan and application for funds.
  • Communicate and coordinate with other contracted service providers awarded through this bid.

Contractors will have the flexibility to work with dairy farmers of any scale, type of dairy animal, certification status, and current condition of the farm. Each farmer will receive a mixture of one-on-one and group business and technical assistance over 18-22 months. Once a farmer has developed a plan with the Contractor, they will be eligible to apply for grant funds through NE-DBIC to assist in making necessary improvements to increase the likelihood of a successful and sustained farm management improvements. 

**This opportunity is currently closed. It is expected to re-open in Spring 2023.**

Funds Available

Contracts will be issued for up to $150,000.

Total funds available $500,000.

How to Submit a Proposal

  1. Review the full Dairy Farm Cohort Technical Assistance Request for Proposals (RFP).
  2. Submit any questions or comments in writing to Laura.Ginsburg@vermont.govQuestions are due: September 2, 2022 at 4:30 PM ET. Questions will be answered individually as they are received. A compilation of all questions received and their corresponding answers will be posted by Sept 6, 2022 on the RFP webpage. 
  3. Include the following elements in your bid: cover letter, project abstract, contractor background and experience, resumes or CV's of project team leader and each team member, project approach, budget, references, Certificate of Insurance, Form W-9, evidence of an active registration, signed Certificate of Compliance, as outlined in the RFP.
  4. Submit all bid elements as a single PDF document to RFP Response Deadline: September 16, 2022 at 4:30 PM ET

Previous Rounds

This is the fifth round of cohort-based technical assistance contracts that NE-DBIC is offering. Early contracts through this program focused solely on moving production systems along the grazing continuum and are currently ongoing with cohorts based in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Fall 2021, the program expanded to include forage and non-traditional farm management strategies. Four additional cohorts supporting farmers in Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and New Hampshire expanded reach to include topics such as “low overhead grazing”, nutrition, healthcare, agronomy, farm financials, and herd tracking technology.  Building upon these earlier rounds of contracts, this round of funding further expands to include an even wider breadth of services which prioritize the development of several cohorts across the Northeast region through which will directly serve dairy farmers. 

To date, this program has funded eight cohort projects across the Northeast through Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP), Conservation Performance LLC, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and University of Vermont Extension. 

Read about the impacts of the pilot program offered through technical assistance provider, Cheryl Cesario, grazing specialist with University of Vermont:

Northeast DBIC Staff

Laura Ginsburg, Center Lead
(802) 522-2252 

Kathryn Donovan, Programs Manager
(802) 585-4571

Katie Spring, Outreach & Content Specialist

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Funding for the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grants AM190100XXXXG081, AM200100XXXXG003, 21DBIVT1004-00, and AM21DBIVT1011-00. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.