By Tony Kitsos, UVM Extension - January 2022
University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture recently launched a new program to provide free on-farm technical assistance for Vermont farm business owners and managers interested in improving their bottom line through changes in management practices.
The program's technical service providers will work one-on-one with farmers to answer questions and provide technical assistance in a number of areas including milk quality, grazing and pasture management, dairy nutrition, animal housing and facilities, animal husbandry and personnel management. In addition, they may source grant funding for fences, waterlines and barnyard improvements and help farms enroll in state and federal programs, such as those that provide payments for rotational grazing and excluding livestock from waterways.
Tony Kitsos heads up the team, which includes two recently hired dairy herd management educators, Whitney Hull and Kelsie Meehan. Kitsos and Hull are available to work with medium- and large-scale cow dairy operations while Meehan will assist small-scale, small ruminant, organic, grass-based and/or transitional cow, goat and sheep dairies.
The program is supported by the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, which is hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The center, established in 2020 to serve a ten-state region, supports projects that target dairy farms and processors to provide market research and technical assistance to promote development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products.