New resources for small dairy farms


CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Cornell Small Farms Program Small Dairy Team has released a series of six new resources to help small dairy farms. The team, which includes farmers and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, received a grant from the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2011 to provide new educational resources and tools to small dairy producers.

Small dairies have borne the brunt of the exodus of dairy farms from New York. The goal of the project was to provide resources for dairies looking to adapt to ever-changing market factors.


The new resources for small farms include:

Financial Bench Marks for Small Dairies, which help dairies identify the strengths and weaknesses of their farms compared to other farms of similar size in New York.

Off-Farm Processing Start-Up Fact Sheet: which suggests first steps for dairy farmers considering adding direct sales of value-added dairy products to their business mix.

Web-based Geo-Map, which shows all the small dairy processing plants in New York state.

Small Dairy Case Studies: which highlights unique solutions to keep four small dairy operations profitable.

Production Record-Keeping Book for Grazing Dairies: Formatted and distributed to CCE offices statewide by Cornell Small Farms Program Small Dairy Team — printed funded by New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. Books are available to grazing dairies at no cost through local CCE office.

Organic Dairy Forage and Grain Survey: Due to fluctuating precipitation in 2011, many farms were short of forage and grain. This is particularly stressful to organic dairies since they have limited options for buying replacement feed. Small Dairy Team member Dana Markley operates a 100-cow dairy in Philadelphia, N.Y.

Farmers interested in direct marketing also can use the new web-based geo map showing the on-farm processing locations in New York, to help find processors close to their farms.

In 2012, the Cornell Small Farms Program is collaborating with educators and farmers to host a series of small dairy field days through late spring and summer. Topics range from incorporating new value-added products to improving nutrition and producing on-farm biodiesel.

Schedule. To view the schedule or register, visit For further assistance, contact your local CCE office, visit, or contact Fay Benson, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County, 607-753-5213,

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