PDPW Development Day Three: Dairy Business Management

On day three, we wrapped up our first two days of training and brought it all together in a session about dairy business management.

We began by discussing the money behind a dairy, including what can make a farm profitable, how much equipment and buildings can cost, how much it costs to feed a herd of cattle, and how farmers make decisions based on the money they make. We looked at how farmers get paid for their milk, and what they can do to impact the price they receive.

We then looked at how farmers can mitigate the risks they have with their farms. This included futures contracts and hedging. From there, we looked deeper into the costs of farming. We discussed the differences between hiring a custom harvesting crew or harvesting the crops yourself, and whether or not it was cost effective to install fans and a misting system in a free stall facility.

To have a dairy business, the farmers need to be operating in some sort of business format. We learned of the varieties of business models that farmers can choose to have. Farmers can choose between a single-owner, a partnership, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corporation, C Corporation, or a Cooperative Corporation.

We wrapped up the day discussing what we learned the most from our experience at the PDPW APPs training. My biggest takeaway was that as a member of this highly integrated agriculture industry, it is my duty to help these farmers, in whatever way they need. As the Program Assistant for AgrAbility of Wisconsin, it is my main job to help those farmers with disabilities to continue farming, but what I do in my day to day job affects all others in the industry. As an agriculture we need all farmers, and I now have gained even more skills to assist all that I encounter.