Professional Dairy Producers Foundation awards grants

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The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation is awarding grants to two organizations for educational programming for dairy producers and their communities.

Maryland Dairy Shrine Inc. will receive funding for “Improved Cow Care & Management with Animal Welfare Assessments.” This program, hosted at the 2011 Maryland Dairy Convention, on February 26, provides lectures and hands-on demonstrations to help producers proactively improve cattle care and comfort, centered around the standards set by various animal welfare assessment programs.

“We are teaching proper on-farm animal care techniques, which is very important to consumers today,” says Matthew Iager, spokesperson for the Shrine. “Training and support is needed if producers want to ‘do the right thing’ and meet these expectations.”

The North Carolina Association for Dairy Stabilization and Growth Inc. will receive funding for the “Dairy Strategies Series,” an educational effort to provide dairy producers with management information, networking and innovations through direct and interactive means. “There are limited and diminishing opportunities for dairy producers to interact with one another and learn from each other in actual management situations,” says Matt Lange. “We want to create web-based audio-visuals of producers in decision-making situations, showcasing producer-led innovations. The series will help instill confidence and professionalism in decision-making.”

In addition to these two programs, the Foundation will continue to support the Youth Leadership Derby, the Dairy Mentor Program, and the Agriculture-Community Engagement program, all sponsored by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW).

The Foundation board of directors selected the grant recipients.

Beyond the grant dollars, the Foundation has made scholarships available for dairy producers from Maryland and North Carolina to visit Wisconsin, network with other producers, and share ideas about their projects. A roundtable discussion will take place at the PDPW 2011 Business Conference, March 15&16, in Madison, Wis.

“This is the true spirit of our dairy foundation--To foster interaction between producers and share ideas that will help advance our profession, so that dairying can remain an important contributor to our communities for generations to come,” says Deb Reinhart, dairy producer and chair of the Foundation Board.

Since its founding by dairy producers in 2002, the Foundation has made funds available for youth programs, community education programs and the National Dairy Animal Well-being Initiative. This year’s competitive grant program focused on two key areas: 1) Building producer professionalism, and 2) Maintaining public trust within dairy communities.

“Many great ideas exist for how to deliver education to our dairy communities,” Reinhart adds. “We are excited to be able to award dollars that might be instrumental in bringing great ideas to light.”

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation was established in 2002 as a way to raise funds and awards grants for educational programs. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) entity. For information on programs funded and ways to donate, visit www.dairyfoundation.org.



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