Pennsylvania consultants who are working with dairy teams to improve farm profitability can take advantage of free training on the new web-based version of the Penn State Profitability Assessment Dairy Tool.
Penn State Dairy Extension and the Center for Dairy Excellence are partnering to offer consultants who are facilitating CDE Profit and Target teams the training they need to use the new online version of the PA Dairy Tool with their dairies.

Created by Penn State Dairy Extension, the PA Dairy Tool can give advisers and producers a whole-farm view of the dairy operation for better identification of key weaknesses. John Frey, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence, strongly recommends that CDE Target and Profit teams use the PA Dairy Tool to identify opportunities and bottlenecks for increased profitability on their dairies.

The center is providing funds for teams to use the PA Dairy Tool. The center will reimburse Profit and Target teams 100 percent of the cost of using the tool, up to $1,000, notes Frey.

These training sessions will also include a brief discussion and reference packet of information for the soon to be released “LGM for dairy” insurance product for Pennsylvania dairy producers. This risk management tool will provide producers a new and unique opportunity to insure feed/milk margins and compliments the program goals of the PA Dairy Tool and Profit/Target team.

The PA Dairy Tool uses benchmark information to identify risk areas that are negatively impacting the dairy. By pinpointing the areas of greatest financial loss on the dairy, the PA Dairy Tool reveals where the dairy has the best opportunity for improving its bottom line. Following the consultant’s use of the PA Dairy Tool on their teams, Penn State educators can utilize additional drill-down tools on the specific bottleneck(s) on the dairy in order to develop an action plan to help eliminate the bottleneck and improve profitability.

Training sessions will be held in June and July to teach consultants how to use the online version of the PA Dairy Tool with their teams. These training sessions are designed specifically for consultants who are currently working with CDE Target and Profit team farms, and are also open to those interested in working with dairy advisory teams in the future.

Thanks to funding from the CDE and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the training will be offered at no charge to the consultant. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, space at each site is limited. Pre-registration is required. Call the Dairy Alliance office at (888) 373-7232 to reserve your spot. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. 
Each one-day training session will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dates and locations for the sessions are:
· June 26 – Cumberland County: Penn State Cooperative Extension Office, 310 Allen Road, Suite 601, Carlisle, Pa.
· July 8 – Lancaster County: Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Drive, Lancaster, Pa. (small conference room).
· July 9 – Bradford County: Blast Intermediate Unit 17, RR2, Canton, Pa. (computer lab).
· July 11 – Mercer County: Penn State Shenango Campus, Room 312, Sharon Hall, Sharon, Pa.
Workshop participants will learn how to prepare the financial and production data required for the PA Dairy Tool and how to run the online version of the tool. Participants will also explore various case studies to understand how to interpret tool results in different scenarios on-farm.
Brenda Irwin, a producer from Centerville, Pa., shares first-hand how the tool works to help producers identify and claim lost dollars. “Working with Penn State faculty, staff and the PA Dairy Milk Quality Drill-Down Tool allowed us to identify milk quality critical control points, capture approximately $1,000 per month in lost quality premiums and helped set the stage for a planned expansion,” says Irwin.
Others have reported similar success using the tool with their advisory teams. “The tool was able to specifically identify a problem that we thought was there, but could not necessarily identify ourselves,” says Tim Forry, producer, Oregon Dairy, Lititz, Pa. “The information was useful for working with our advisory team. Because of the volume of information, the tool provided a much more comprehensive picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the operation.”
The PA Dairy Tool “is very useful in advisory team meetings, because it keeps the team focused on the barriers to profitability. I know of no other resource that works so effectively,” notes Mike Hosterman, dairy lending specialist, Ag Choice Farm Credit
For more information about the Center for Dairy Excellence Profit/Target team program and the consultant training sessions in June and July go to:

Penn State Dairy Alliance