Proposed by: Heather Weeks

Presenter: Weeks, H., Extension Educator 4, Penn State Extension, Carlisle, PA 17013

Evaluating financial records is challenging on a dairy farm. In order to effectively track key profitability measures like Income Over Feed Costs (IOFC) producers must accurately maintain and regularly monitor production and financial data. Extension educators sought to develop a comprehensive program to help producers track records and aid decision making for risk management and planning initiatives. The dairy cash flow “Know Your Numbers” program uses a complex spreadsheet that integrates dairy herd rations, cropping plans and financial data to help producers calculate their breakeven milk price and IOFC. The spreadsheet incorporates downloadable pricing data so PA dairies can compare their own costs to current market prices. The program evolved into four mobile apps for dairy producers and consultants combining a multi-state risk management initiative with one-on-one producer meetings to help individual farmers more fully understand their finance and production plans. Participation in the hands-on program doubled from 2012 to 2013, adding an advanced program in 2014 to assess forage and feeding management. Ninety-eight percent of 2013 participants reported increased understanding of the cost to raise their own feeds. As a result of this program, 23% of 2013 producers received lender approval for a loan and 58% changed their cropping strategy to reflect discussion with their educators. Mobile application use has maintained steady adoption rates: DairyCents showed a 100% user increase from its first year of availability to the second. Currently DairyCents, Dairy CentsPRO and CropCents maintain 2,530 registered users from 46 countries.

All Accepted Proposals