Grants Available to Help Dairy Farmers Establish a Team and Improve Profitability

Three Types of Grants Are Available Through the Center’s On-Farm Resource Program

Dairy producers who are looking to improve profitability, create a transition plan, or plan a major business transformation are encouraged to apply for one of three team grant opportunities available through the Center for Dairy Excellence’s On-Farm Resource Program. The 2020-21 team grants allow dairy producers to establish on-farm teams and take advantage of professional consulting and mentorship resources. The application period opened in October 2020, and limited grants are available on a first come, first serve basis.

“The team program really helped us when we got into the planning and details. When we had everyone, including our veterinarian and bank, around the table, we actually changed some of our initial ideas because of the discussion we had with the team,” said Reid Hoover of Brook-Corner Holsteins in Lebanon, Pa., a previous grant recipient. “It was exciting to hear from different people who were going to help us in the future describe where they thought we should go. It was very helpful.”

The Center for Dairy Excellence offers three types of team grants: Dairy Profit Team, Dairy Transition Team, or Dairy Transformation Team. Each team consists of industry experts and trusted advisors, and the Center leverages funds provided through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide these grants to individual farms.

“Whether farms are looking to identify bottlenecks that are hurting profitability or develop a plan that smooths the road for transitioning to the next generation, our team grants provide an outside perspective that can be extremely beneficial when making decisions that impact the future of your operation,” said Melissa Anderson, Programs and Operations Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence.

Hear from dairy farmers who have used the program, and learn more about each type of team grant:

  • Dairy Profit Teams: The Profit Team’s function is to serve as a group of advisors for the farm, addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for greater profitability. Dairy farms can receive up to $1,500 in reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs. 

“I went to a Center for Dairy Excellence event and they mentioned profit teams. It was something that stuck with me. Things were bad, and I thought I was done with dairy farming but there was something nagging me. I thought about giving the profit team a try. Someone on the profit team told me the Center had a grazing advisor, so I was introduced to my mentor, Duane. He agreed to be on our team, and I can say that he saved the farm. With grazing, I needed an advisor and he was the perfect person.”
–Matt Bomgardner, Blue Mountain View Farm in Lebanon, Pa.

  • Dairy Transition Teams: This team is designed to help farms develop a transition or succession plan. The grant covers up to $3,500 of the cost of paid team members, discovery-related costs and attorney expenses.

“Based on discussions we were having with the team, my parents really wanted to have a smooth transition of the farm in place for me and my wife. Our accountant took charge of that and worked with an attorney to put together a transfer of assets, which also addressed my non-farming siblings. It helped to ensure they will receive value from the farm in the future and gave me the ability to continue farming for a long time.”
–Andy Bollinger, Meadow Spring Farm in Lititz, Pa.

  • Dairy Transformation Teams: This option allows producers to establish a team to help plan and execute a major business transformation. Farms can receive up to $3,500 to establish a team to help plan and work through their transformation. Manure storage facility improvements do not qualify as eligible Transformation Team projects.

“We used the Transformation Team for consultants—we ended up having to get a big appraisal done. We made the farm and the [creamery] business two separate entities, so we also used the grant in that way to get advice on structurally setting it up. We also learned the best ways to protect ourselves and our employees. When you’re at home on the farm, that’s not something you’re always thinking about so it’s easier when you have someone else thinking about it for you.”
 –Jessica Kennedy, Farmer in the Dell Creamery in Cooperstown, Pa.

On-farm teams consist of the farm’s most trusted advisors, with a facilitator designated to coordinate meetings and workflow. Farms with existing teams or those who want to establish a team to work in an advisory role can receive reimbursements for paid team members and discovery-related costs.

For all grant programs offered by the Center, program participants must demonstrate industry and farm commitment by documenting in-kind and financial match contributions to the program reimbursements received. Farms must complete an application and submit the required $100 application fee to participate in the advisory teams.

Limited grants are available for the 2020-21 year and are available on a first come, first serve basis. Once approved, farms can utilize the grant to be reimbursed for any qualified expenses incurred from July 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.

Visit to apply online or download a printed application. Contact Melissa Anderson at 717-636-0779 or via email with questions.