Dairy forums offer strategies for financial success

Holstein dairy cows on pasture

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State’s Extension Dairy Team is offering a dairy financial forum to help producers gain a better understanding of their dairy production and financial records.

Groups of five to eight producers will meet over the year in a series of five sessions starting in January 2016 and concluding the following year. Each session will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and will include lunch.

Farm strategy

Through the program, producers will establish a year-round financial and production management strategy. The five workshops are designed for all accounting styles including both paper-based and computer-based records, including QuickBooks users.

Extension Dairy Educator Tim Beck will present the programs with Weeks, said, “Long term success in the dairy business means managing year-round challenges effectively. We want to offer this pilot program as an in-depth way to help producers chart their financial records and evaluate them on a yearly basis to get the most effective results.”

Weeks added, “We believe the in-person aspect of these forums will be extremely valuable, with each farm getting individual attention and answers to specific questions. Participants will leave each session with farm-specific information in a way that is understandable and useful.”

Session one

Focuses on record keeping systems, charts of accounts and inventory management. Participants will develop a monthly cash flow plan for 2016 complete with ration and cropping analysis.

Session two

This session will meet in spring, 2016 and focus on learning to track actual crop yields and the importance of tracking inventories of home-raised feeds including: crop monitoring, forage quality strategies and alternative forage options.

Session three

By summer, the sessions will take on income over feed costs, with monthly monitoring tools, feed management and dry matter monitoring and an on-farm field trip to demonstrate hands-on methods for daily feed management strategies.

Session four

In the fall of 2016, attendees will review the chart of accounts and tracking expenses. Crop inventory tracking, a crop production summary and troubleshooting finances through farm benchmarking and production record keeping will be highlighted.

Session five

The final session in the program will bring the forum groups back together to evaluate both their production and financial records and make a plan for the next year.

This forum is unique in that it offers forum “check-ins” for participants through webinar or conference call to answer any homework questions, get updates on the course materials and for producers to share their experiences throughout the year.

Cost for all forum sessions is $110 per farm on the computer-based track and $145 per farm on the paper-based track with a limit of two people per farm. Interested producers must call Heather Weeks or Tim Beck to get details at 717-240-6500. Dates and locations will be determined by the number of program participants.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.