A group of dairy farmers will be taught to think more like CEOs and CFOs in a three-session series of seminars beginning in late January.

“All of the things apply to any farm,” said Peggy L. Murray, farm business management educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County and organizer of the upcoming Academy for Dairy Executives. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a 50-cow dairy or a 1,000-cow dairy.”

The academy will focus on many areas of high-performance management, including financial assessment, budgeting, decision-making, building effective employee teams, business risk management and strategic planning.

“All those things that are important to a good manager,” Mrs. Murray said.

Those attending the academy will participate in three in-depth seminars at sites across Northern New York: Jan. 25 and 26 at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid, March 23 and 24 at the Riveredge Resort in Alexandria Bay and Nov. 15 and 16 at the Gran-View Quality Inn in Ogdensburg.

“Everybody goes to each site,” Mrs. Murray said.

Each session will begin at noon the first day and end at noon the second day, she said.

“We’re looking for 20 to 30 participants,” Mrs. Murray said.

Cost for the three-part program, including meals and overnight accommodations, will be $750 per person. Speakers will include Extension educators, Pro-Dairy specialists and consultants.

“During each seminar, participants will have the opportunity to interact and build relationships with dairy managers from across the region along with interacting with the speakers on an informal basis,” states an Extension press release.

The program is being sponsored by area Extension offices, the Northern New York Dairy Institute and Pro-Dairy.

The academy will be patterned loosely after a weeklong dairy executive seminar offered every other year at Cornell University, albeit on a smaller scale, Mrs. Murray said. However, the Northern New York version will require a lesser time commitment and be more affordable than the Cornell program, which costs around $6,000 per participant, she said.

The concept of providing more intensive dairy management training stemmed from an area agricultural advisory committee that includes producers and agri-business representatives, Mrs. Murray said. “We asked what they thought was needed,” she said.

Extension officials are advertising the new program in farming magazines and attempting to spread the word through their dairy and agri-business contacts, Mrs. Murray said. Producers from other regions are welcome to attend, although most participants likely will be from the north country, she said.

Assuming the program is successful, similar academies likely will be held elsewhere, Mrs. Murray said.

“It’s a model that’s going to be duplicated around the state,” she said.


For more information or to register for the Academy of Dairy Executives, contact Mrs. Murray in Lowville at 376-5270 or mlm40@cornell.edu , or Corey M. Hayes, farm business management educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County in Watertown, at 788-8450 or cmh298@cornell.edu .

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