Wisconsin program spurs growth in dairy production

Wisconsin dairy producers who received funding from the state's Dairy 2020 Initiative have increased their annual milk production by 980 million pounds per year and represent a total on-farm investment of $225 million.

That's good news to the state and to the coordinators of the Dairy 2020 program who have helped producers accomplish their goals. The Dairy 2020 program was started in 1996. Administered by the Commerce Department, the program was designed to help improve the dairy business climate through business, government and education partnerships. The program provides grant money to help pay for business planning for dairies that want to modernize or expand their dairies.

At the Dairy 2020 Council meeting held last Friday, Philip Edward Albert, commerce secretary, released the results of an on-going study of farmers who received planning grants from the program. Here's a few of the highlights from the study:

  • 75 percent of 477 surveyed recipients say they are going forward with projects they planned with Dairy 2020 assistance.
  • 75 percent of the recipients report improved production efficiency.
  • 60 percent report improved profitability as a result of these projects.

Producer interest in the Dairy 2020 planning grants has not waned over time. During the past quarter, the Commerce Department awarded 34 grants totaling $98,518.

In addition, to the Dairy 2020 program the department also handles the MVP — Milk Volume Production — award program. Four new awards were announced at the meeting also. They are as follows:

  • Schopf Hilltop Dairy, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., will receive a $125,000 MVP loan to increase production capacity by 250 cows.
  • Teal Dairy, Bloomer, Wis., will receive a $67,500 loan for a 135-cow dairy start-up project.
  • Vorpahl Famrs, Random Lake, Wis., will receive a $75,000 MVP loan to increase production capacity by 150 cows.
  • Wayside Dairy, Wayside, Wis., will receive a $475,000 MVP loan to increase production capacity by 950 cows.

Since Gov. Scott McCallum announced the MVP program in June, the Commerce Department has received more than 600 requests for information about the MVP program.

For more information about the Dairy 2020 program or the MVP program, contact Tim Griswold at (608) 266-7370.

Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Business Journal of Milwaukee