Eric Clifford is successful at getting his cows to make milk, as his 28,900-pound rolling herd average will testify. Much of the focus is on providing the right feed ingredients.

So, how does this 155-cow Vermont producer assess new feed additives?
He insists on seeing research that shows a predicted or known result for each product. "If it's totally new and research hasn't been done on it, I won't be using it," he says.

Besides checking industry or university research results, he asks his consultants what they think.

Furthermore, he doesn't hesitate to call research facilities even if they're out-of-state, like the Miner Institute in Chazy, N.Y., or Cornell University. He's met researchers from those institutions by attending various meetings, and he's added them to his resource list.