The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages farmers to apply now for the Dairy Farm Management Team program. This program is designed to assist producers with future planning to innovate and modernize their farms to increase profitability.

“Dairy Farm Management Teams are an additional tool producers can use to improve their operating efficiency by identifying challenges and opportunities,” said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. “The purpose of this program is to help dairy farmers strengthen their management tools and provide the resources needed to move forward.”

Participating producers will work with a facilitator, who will bring together a team of professionals tailored to the farm’s individual situation.  The management team may include lenders, agronomists, nutritionists, veterinarians, and other specialists. Over three meetings, the team will discuss issues, develop a strategy, and provide input for decision-making and long-term planning.  Technology, growth, herd health, milk quality, financial success, and sustainability are some issues that may be considered.

The cost-share program will provide up to $2,000 to cover costs such as consultant fees and agronomic, milk quality, or veterinary testing.  Capital expenses are not eligible.  Farmers will contribute 10 percent of these costs as part of the program.

All Wisconsin dairy farmers, who do not already have management team advisors in place, are eligible to apply, regardless of herd size or set-up.  The application is only one page.

Sixty-five Dairy Farm Management Teams have been formed since this program launched in late 2009.  Producers have shared these reflections on their participation on the program:

  • Jennifer Riederer, of Cato, used this program on Riederer Dairy, her family’s farm.  She explained that “This program definitely helped me get my expansion moving.  I didn’t know how to get things started because there’s a lot to do, but by creating this team it assisted me in getting the project rolling and connected me to the right resources.” Some accomplishments have been signing long-term leases with her parents, establishing a biosecurity protocol for purchased cattle and developing a marketing plan for milk and feed.
  • Dan Truttmann of Blanchardville shared, “Starting a farm management team provided me an avenue to bring people to the table to brainstorm how to improve our farm efficiency and profitability, while I made the final decision to implement tactics that fit my personal and farm goals.” The team took a profitability and SWOT analysis of Truttmann Dairy LLC and implemented benchmarking to help determine how to position for success into the future.

“I have successfully used the Dairy Farm Management Team program with many of my producers,” said Scott Gunderson, the Manitowoc County UW-Extension Dairy Agent and a facilitator for a number of teams. “The team partnerships built through this program can continue after the three meetings, as long as they wish or need, on their own terms to identify and implement new avenues to consider on the dairy farm.”

This program is made possible through the Value Added Dairy Initiative, which is funded by a Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. In-kind contributions are provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and DATCP. The Dairy Farm Management Team program is a joint effort of DATCP; the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Dairy 2020 program; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Dairy Team, Farm and Risk Management Team (FARM), and Center for Dairy Profitability; and Wisconsin Technical Colleges. 

Application materials are available online.  For questions or more information, contact Jim Cisler at or (608) 224-5137.                          

Source: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection