Dairy Cost of Production Workshop January 24, 2024

Join UVM Extension for a workshop led by Joanna Lidback, dairy farmer and principal financial consultant with Adirondack Management Services. Joanna will help farmers understand key financial concepts and how to calculate cost of production and breakeven milk price.

This in-person event will be held at People’s Trust Company in St. Albans, VT on January 24 from 10 am – 3pm. This is a free event, with lunch included, and registration is required. In the event of inclement weather, this event will be rescheduled to January 31.

To register please visit: https://go.uvm.edu/dairyfinancial

Workforce Survey for Northeast Dairy Industry Employers

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE DBIC) is investigating workforce issues with the dairy industry.

The Workforce Survey for Northeast Dairy Industry Employers seeks to identify workforce challenges facing employers across the Northeast’s dairy industry. Survey findings will be used to inform the design, and plan for the launch of, a pilot workforce program that will be developed in collaboration with regional dairy employers and stakeholders. The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center retained KK&P, a food systems consultancy, to lead this research and workforce program design process. 

This survey is intended for dairy industry employers and managers only, across the dairy supply chain (including farmers, processors, haulers, and distributors). The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed here: https://forms.gle/zCzPUZBUK8ohLa1f6

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Brian De Corte at Brian@kkandp.com. Visit the NE Dairy Business Innovation Center website

Vermont Agency of Commerce Flood Relief Grant- Up to $20k Apply Soon!

The VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has announced an emergency assistance grant program that businesses and farmers will be eligible to apply for. The application portal is expected to open by the middle of this week. Funding will be available on a first come – first served basis. Business owners should prepare in advance and be ready once the application portal is opened.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development is hosting a live webinar tomorrow at this LINK HERE, on  Wednesday, August 2nd at 10:00am to provide information on their Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program (BEGAP).

The application is expected to include 15 questions , many of which are similar to the SBA Loan application questions, including:

  • A list of your damage – property damage, physical damage, inventory, equipment, supplies – everything you lost, or supplies you purchased to clean up after the flood
  • An insurance estimate/damage assessment – an estimate from your insurance company showing your assessed loss. 
  • Assessments of repairs – how much will it take to get back up and running? 
  • Estimates for physical repairs
  • Photos or videos that can portray the damage that you faced. 

Watch for updates at the ACCD Storm Recovery Resource Center and see the most recent press release from July 27th describing the coming program.

Milk Quality Workshop for Dairy Farmers in August

A series of milk quality workshops will be offered in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in early August. These workshops are geared toward dairy producers and service providers interested in learning more about milk quality best practices, as well as how to troubleshoot milk quality issues on your own farm. Workshops at all locations run from 11 am- 1 pm.

Burlington, Vermont: August 8th Register at: https://go.uvm.edu/milk

Plainfield, New Hampshire: August 9th Register at: https://go.uvm.edu/nh-dairy

Clinton, Maine: August 10th. Register at: https://go.uvm.edu/maine-dairy

Dairy Herd Health Workshop – July 13th 2023, Cedar Mt. Farm in Hartland, VT

This workshop is for dairy farmers looking to deepen their clinical skills and understanding of herd health management. Join us for a hands-on dairy herd health workshop hosted by Cedar Mountain Farm and led by veterinarian Dr. Dayna Locitzer, DVM. With a mix of time in the classroom, on pasture, and in the barn, we’ll discuss the principles of herd health, a cow’s daily time budget, physical exam of the cow, demonstration of clinical skills like knot tying and administering injections, and calving and when to intervene.

Register here: go.uvm.edu/cedarmountain  View the informational flyer below with more info attached.

Winter Updates from Agricultural Business Programs

A number of programs and partner projects are happening already in 2023. Here is a look at the things going on today.

Vermont Dairy Summary – January/February 2023 : Dairy management educators Tony Kitsos and Whitney Hull have begun to publish the monthly Vermont Dairy Update. A big thanks to Diane Bothfeld and a tremendous career with the VT Agency of Food, Agricultural and Markets. UVM Extension plans to maintain core dairy statistics in the monthly report and begin to include commentary and analysis to explore the major trends impacting dairy management decisions. See the most recent count on active dairy farms and price trends below.

Maple Sap Business Promotion – Sap/syrup producer survey closes soon!

UVM Extension Maple Business is developing financial tools and technical guidance to help folks make decisions about maple sap business ventures, and conducting a sap/syrup producer survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SapProducerSurvey2022 to gather in-depth information on sap business economic activity across the maple region.

The survey is open through February. The information gained from the study will help maple sap producers understand and learn more about production practices, costs and markets to enhance business opportunities. The results of this survey will be published by UVM Extension, shared in industry publications and discussed at maple conferences beginning in 2023. More information on this project can be found at: https://www.uvm.edu/extension/agriculture/maple-business and at: www.maplemanager.org

Partner Research Spotlight: Rural Childcare Access in Farm Communities

The American Farm Bureau Federation has included the need to support rural childcare access in its 2023 policy priorities for the Farm Bill. In addition, two U.S. senators have drafted a bill to support childcare through the Farm Bill with bi-partisan support. The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is conducting research to better understand and inform childcare policy and improve access for farm families. A survey is open through February and farm families are encouraged to participate.

Link to the survey: https://redcap.link/Survey1_FarmersRaisingChildren

For more information about the research project, see: https://marshfieldresearch.org/nccrahs/FarmChildrenChildcare

Maple Start-Up Investment Guides and Profitability Research

The age-old question for a farm financial adviser has been “Is the money moving from the business across the kitchen table into the owner’s pockets or is the money moving from the owner’s pocket across the table, out the door-yard and into the business?” There is no question that investment capital is needed for people starting or expanding a modern maple enterprise. UVM Extension has published nine start-up investment profiles to demonstrate the estimated investment required for enterprises at different scales.

Go to the Maple Business Resource Library at www.maplemanager.org to find the investment profile that will help with your planned start-up or expansion. 

The research finds that smaller start-ups might require $50-$60 per tap for the production investment plus an additional $25-$45 per tap for land purchases when the appraisal is $1,500-$2,500 per acre. Larger enterprises from 10,000-20,000 taps could require a slightly lower investment of $40-$50 per tap in production systems plus that same additional $25-$45 per tap if a property purchase is part of the plan.

International Maple Syrup Institute Explores U.S. Promotion Programs
This week the International Maple Syrup Institute Board of Directors will gather for their annual meeting to discuss a number of key issues facing the maple industry. One topic on the agenda will be the progress being made to explore different promotional program options for the United States. As the maple industry grows the IMSI seeks to understand different ways maple producers can work together to expand the market for maple syrup. The research committee plans to produce a series of articles later this year to share how different U.S. specialty crop groups have developed unified promotional programs and the different mechanisms that have been used to organize these initiatives.

New Northeast Maple Benchmark Report
UVM Extension has published the newest report that documents ongoing financial research with maple businesses. The 2020 NE Maple Benchmark is available at www.maplemanager.org on the Maple Business Resource Library page. A deeper look at the results is coming in the July newsletter.

Sign up for program updates when you visit www.maplemanager.org and you will receive the monthly newsletter on maple business development, markets and economics.

Farm Viability Farmer Peer-to-Peer Discussion Cohort

Are you interested in joining a Farmer Peer-to-Peer Discussion Cohort to increase basic business management skills, discuss business needs and share ideas? FREE 12-month program for qualifying farms! Cohort meets for a 4-hour session each month.

You can complete an initial pre-screening intake form here  or contact: Betsy Miller at: betsy.miller@uvm.edu to learn more, for pre-screening and to receive an application.

You must have a value-added component to your farming operation and meet a few other basic requirements, including: a) participant is a Vermont resident, b) participant has 3 years of experience working and managing farm operations and c) the farm business generated at least $15,000 of gross sales in the previous year. UVM Extension Farm Viability provides assistance referring all applicants that do not meet eligibility criteria to other programs and services available to them. Waivers from the eligibility requirements may be requested and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

UVM Extension Farm Viability offers business planning and technical assistance services to all qualifying Vermont farmers, as part of a statewide effort to improve the economic viability of Vermont agriculture. Once enrolled, all farms meet and work with a ‘lead’ farm business planner usually over a 4 – 12 month basis to produce a written business plan and/or complete other business analysis projects. In the second year, farmers who have completed a full business plan or farm transfer/succession plan are provided with ongoing technical assistance to monitor their progress in implementing their plan.

County Mayo, Ireland, Sept 2013

Sap Selling Season

A sap hydrometer measures the sugar content in a load of sap.

Maple sap harvesting has been underway in many US regions. Now well into March, the season is in full swing.

If you are in the business of selling sap or thinking about starting to, UVM Extension has business resources available to help. For example, you can use our Sap Pricing Calculator to determine the price per gallon paid to the seller or determine  Profit and Loss from Sap Hauling

The Economic Advantage of Sap-Only
Specializing in sap production and selling sap in a business-to-business transaction offers many advantages. Sap sellers are able to reduce their capital investments and focus specifically on sap production activity. Recent research shows that sap-only enterprises may require just 50% of the capital investment compared to a similar sized sap-to-syrup processing business. A typical 5,000 tap enterprise on previously owned property is estimated to require $100k-$120k in sap collection investments. For the same enterprise to invest in syrup processing capacity at least another $110k in capital start-up is expected. Sap sellers can focus their labor and attention to high yielding sap harvest systems without spreading skills and attention into the business of syrup processing, grading, packaging and sales.

Syrup processors see a significant advantage from sap purchasing as well. The investment in a sugar house and the processing equipment is significant. Many syrup processors are seeing the benefits of sizing their facility in order to purchase-in additional sap and increase their equipment usage to enhance profitability. These relationships also enable successful maple brands to supply more customers and focus on the market development logistics to expand maple demand.

Visit www.maplemanager.org for more maple business resources.

Registration is Open for UVM Maple Business Short Courses

UVM Extension offers two online short courses for current and prospective maple producers that begin in late October. Each course includes four classes (1.5 hours each), once per week, and teaching assignments that get participants completing real time analysis and making immediate decisions to enhance their business. Registration in now open for the Maple Business Planning and Maple Financial Planning short courses.

For more information see the course descriptions and registration information on the Events page at www.maplemanger.org. Or click the file below to view or share the informational flyer.