Whatever happened to that progressive Ohio dairy group?

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COLUMBUS – If you’re wondering whatever happened with the Progressive Dairy Producers of Ohio, if you’re associated with dairy you’ll probably soon be asked to join.

While the hoped-for voice that would represent all Ohio dairy farmers has been largely silent for the past year, organizationally, the new advocacy group has been perking right along.

It has, at this time, only about its original 60 members, but it is alive, has refined its purpose, has sponsored at least one field day, and found itself a seat on the steering committees for the 2000 Ohio Dairy Management Conference and Tri-State Dairy Management Conference in Indiana.

With the assistance of OSU, however, the Progressive Dairy Producers of Ohio is now in a position to grow into what it first announced itself to be.

OSU has agreed to co-fund with PDPO an extension associate who will oversee the day-to-day affairs of the new organization and act as its official spokesman.

Tim Deland has been working since August out of the Putnam County extension office as a dairy industry enhancement associate, and spends half his time on PDPO.

Deland said the expectation is that over the next three years PDPO will gradually assume the entire burden of his salary, and will gain a full-time executive director in the process.

He will initially be working to create industry databases and identifying supporting resources to make it easier for Ohio dairy producers to network with each other on productivity and management issues.

And because extension is involved, there will be a component of educational programming.

All dairy farms. Deland said there has been no organization that represents all Ohio dairy farms, of every size. PDPO anticipates it can now begin to operate in much the same manner as other commodity-based organizations.

It hopes to become the place people turn to find out about Ohio dairy farming, and where dairy producers can turn to have their voice heard on issues.

The initial PDPO organization was composed primarily of larger producers, and dues were determined by cow numbers.

The structure has now been modified to allow more dairy producers to participate.

Producers can join for a per farm fee of $50, plus 50-cents per head for anything over 200 mature animals. Dairy organizations are invited to become associate members at $200, and individuals can join for $50.

For further information contact Deland at Putnam County extension, 419-532-6294.

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