Dairy producers who want to build from the growing consumer trend toward purchasing value-added and locally produced food products are invited to register for the “Value-added Dairy Marketing Workshop” Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Michigan State University (MSU) W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners.

Participants who attend the one-day workshop will receive instruction on how to differentiate their dairy farms’ products from those on store shelves, how to add value through implementing on-farm processing and sales practices, and how to develop an effective marketing plan. Instructors will also explain the guidelines producers must follow to qualify for using special product labeling, including organic, grass-fed and pasture-based, and how to market a niche product.

The presenters will be John Partridge, MSU associate professor of food science and human nutrition; Tom Kalchik, associate director of the MSU Product Center; Amy Brown, Michigan Department of Agriculture; Kevin Kiehnau, Organic Valley Farms; Chad Pawlak, Grass Point Farms; Doug Westendorp, MOO-ville Creamery; and Anne Cavanagh, Mattawan Creamery.

Mat Haan, KBS pasture-based dairy project manager, said that dairy farmers and entrepreneurs who are interested in developing or expanding niche marketing opportunities for dairy products should consider attending this workshop.

“Workshop participants will learn how to add value to dairy products through processing and marketing efforts, from creating an individual marketing plan to developing a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations associated with on-farm processing,” he said. “Participants will also hear directly from dairy farmers who are currently using on-farm processing methods and differentiated product labeling.”

Haan noted there would also be ample opportunity for attendees to network with fellow workshop participants and the speakers during the day.

At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees will have an opportunity to take a guided tour of the KBS Pasture Dairy Research and Education Center and robotic milking facility.

The $30 registration fee ($25 for other participants from the same farm) includes all educational  material, lunch and snacks.

To register for the value-added dairy marketing workshop or to receive additional information, contact Mat Haan at 269-671-2360 or send an e-mail to haanm@msu.edu.

On-site registration will be available, but the courtesy of a phone call or e-mail is appreciated to ensure there will be sufficient meals and materials.

The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station is located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek at 3700 East Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners. The 4,065-acre KBS, the university’s largest off-campus education complex, is recognized globally for its contributions to ecological science and evolutionary biology. The field station is committed to providing science and ecology education, conserving natural resources, and developing and observing sustainable agriculture research and demonstration projects and practices. KBS is administered through the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Natural Science.