The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (DBIC) will support three projects which will enhance the available technical assistance for dairy farmers and processors in the region. Additional resources and research related to the Northeast DBIC can also be found on this page.
UVM Extension On-Farm Technical Assistance
On-farm technical assistance provision through University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Specialists is a critical element for successful farm operation, adoption of new strategies, and problem solving. This capacity does not currently exist in Vermont and is one of the most frequently sought-after services from farm operators. UVM Extension will hire two FTE for the duration of the grant period. The positions will provide services across Vermont and will engage with other regional Extension opportunities to share knowledge with farmers outside of Vermont.
Regional Technical Assistance Provision
Receipt of timely, professional, and topic-specific technical assistance is a hallmark of a successful business. A collaborative effort between New England and New York technical assistance providers, will provide regional farmers direct assistance coordinated through dairy cooperatives. By utilizing a network of organizations, the Northeast DBIC will direct technical assistance to reduce duplication in effort, strengthen regional bonds, and ensure that dairy farmers can focus on long-term economic viability through on-farm innovation.
Dairy Goat and Sheep Accelerator Program
Operators of small ruminant dairy farms have little access to technical assistance to learn skills and improve their management strategies and yet goat and sheep dairies are often discussed as a viable opportunity for converting some cow dairies or for new farm ventures. An accelerator program will be hosted by Vermont Creamery, the largest cooperatively owned processor of goat milk in New England, and will benefit three distinct segments of the goat/sheep dairy sector: current dairy operations, cow dairy operations seeking to transition, and new farmers. Contracted technical assistance for dairy goat and sheep farm operators will be linked with grant funds to implement systems changes and improvements to increase operational capacity, with services (in-person or via online consultation) and events available to farmers across the region.
The USDA funded two additional Dairy Business Innovation initiatives. You can find resources and information about these initiatives on their websites.
- University of Tennessee: Value-Added Dairy Program
- University of Wisconsin: Dairy Business Innovation Alliance
- Vermont Dairy Marketing Assessment, Karen Karp & Partners
- Specialty Cheese Marketing Research Report, Atlantic Corporation
- Vermont Agriculture & Food Systems Plan/Farm to Plate Strategic Plan incorporates a variety of dairy-focused briefs including some dedicated to goat, sheep, and specialty cheese.