As a dairy farmer, the idea of starting a value-added business and on-farm production is exciting. There are several factors to consider, though, to get your business venture off the ground — from regulations and business management to sanitation, marketing and more. Penn State Extension, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, and the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) have the following value-added resources available. Click here to view additional value-added resources.

If you’re interested in working with a professional consultant to create a business plan, or consider whether a value-added opportunity is the right fit for you, contact Melissa Anderson at the Center for Dairy Excellence to learn more about our Dairy Decisions Consultants (DDC) program.

Starting a Value-Added Dairy Foods Business in Pennsylvania (Online Course)

Small-scale dairy food processing is one option for dairy farm diversification. There are several things to consider when starting a value-added dairy business, including marketing, manufacturing, regulations, and on-farm production to help launch your successful business. This introductory self-paced course from Penn State Extension is for dairy producers who might be exploring farmstead or artisan dairy foods processing. While engaging with educational videos, readings, and knowledge-check questions, you will be guided through the aspects of launching a dairy food processing business.

Dairy Food Processing Resources from Penn State Extension (Online Courses, Webinars and More)

From business management and safety/sanitation to production, processing and regulations, Penn State Extension’s Dairy Food Processing webpage includes a variety of articles, online courses, webinars and more.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (Resources, Frequently Asked Questions and More)

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences is helping produce growers, food processors, and feed manufacturers prepare for new regulatory standards required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. Utilizing insights from impacted stakeholders, the team’s goal is to deliver training and other educational resources, in both English and Spanish, that will help Pennsylvania’s food and agricultural industry comply, creating a safer food system in the Commonwealth.

Food Science Short Courses and Workshops Through Penn State Extension

Penn State faculty and staff members have developed over 30 Food Science short courses and workshops. These programs provide science-based solutions to challenging regulatory, quality, and safety issues faced by the industry. Their Food Science Certificate Program is a way for those who regularly attend courses to advance in their careers by documenting their commitment to continuous improvement.  

Cheese-Making Resources (Online Courses, Videos and More)

The Safe Cheesemaking Hub is a compendium of food safety resources selected and organized to help cheesemakers easily find the information they need. 

The Importance of Food Safety: An Introduction to the Food Safety Modernization Act (On-Demand Webinar Recording)

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is complicated because it applies to different food businesses in different ways – and it is continually being updated as new safety protocols surface. It may not apply to your farm or food business now, but it might in the future. Because of the many rules that fall under the “FSMA umbrella,” it is your individual responsibility as a food business owner to determine if you must comply…but how do you decide? This session combines a general overview of FSMA that is applicable to all food businesses with unique examples of ways that food business owners might respond, depending on whether they are in retail or production, whether they are agricultural producers, or makers of value-added products, or enterprises that transport food in the value chain.

Ag Grant Best Practices Webinar (On-Demand Webinar Recording)

The Ag Center of Excellence at the PA Small Business Development Center hosted this free, informal grant panel discussion for new and existing agricultural entities. This is your opportunity to learn about grant opportunities in the state and learn the process for grant application that you can use to build, diversify and grow your business.

Making Your Farm Business Plan Work for You (On-Demand Recording)

To reap the benefits of personal time, effort, and energy (or in some cases, the consultant’s fee) invested in a farm business plan, it’s important to put the goals and actions envisioned into use. This 30-minute presentation provides three strategies that, when put in place, will assist in transforming your plan into an ongoing business management tool.

Dairy Processor Brand Strategy (Marketing Toolkit)

As part of a larger effort sponsored by the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (VAAFM), The Good People Research Company was contracted to study the marketing and branding of dairy producers and consumers in the Northeast to learn how best to assist small dairy producers in their efforts to brand their companies successfully. View case studies, a marketing toolkit for dairy processors, a final report, and more.

Strengthening Regional Dairy Distribution (Report and Webinar)

To support the region’s dairy farms and processors in realizing the market opportunity of value-added dairy, the NE-DBIC contracted food system consultancy Karn Karp & Partners (KK&P) in 2021. KK&P’s research focused on identifying opportunities to strengthen the region’s value-added dairy distribution network, increasing value-added dairy producers’ ability to leverage that network, bringing the region’s unique and delicious products to stores, cafeterias, restaurants, and households throughout the Northeast.

Market Intelligence: Dairy Export Opportunities and Import Displacement (Webinars)

The DBIA has solicited market research by Mintel to inform U.S. dairy entities about opportunities for exporting dairy products. The DBIA has also solicited market research by Mintel to inform U.S. dairy entities about opportunities for displacing current imported goat and sheep cheeses.

“Let’s Keep Your Business Growing” for Dairy Processors (Webinars)

The DBIA and Wisconsin Dairy Innovation Center host a series of webinars to help dairy processors strengthen their businesses. Selection to choose from includes: Fine-Tuning Your Marketing Strategy, Social Media Marketing, Developing E-Commerce, Developing an Export Program, and more.