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January 2007

New Economic Tools Available On-line

G. William Robb
Extension Dairy Educator WC Michigan

Michigan dairy producers faced a significant decline in the price of milk and at the same time faced sharp increases in the cost of production in 2006.  “Dollars and $ense” a project of the MSU Extension Dairy and Farm Management teams is intended to build capacity in the Michigan dairy industry to utilize resources most wisely.  Through this program dairy producers and their consultants can work together to analyze and make decisions that will assist in cash flow and maximize profit potential.

The project includes several routes of information distribution.

  • The first is a web site that pulls together much of the dairy farm information at MSU in one location at http://dollarsandsense.anr.msu.edu.  This web site is open and available to anyone with Internet access. Those without Internet access can work with their local agribusiness partners or contact a local MSU Extension resource.
  • The second is collaboration with Michigan agribusinesses that share in the desire to grow a healthier dairy industry. Veterinarians, nutritionists, bankers, milk cooperatives, and dairy sales companies each have a vested interest in a strong growing Michigan dairy industry. Producers will have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one meetings with these trusted agribusiness consultants or Michigan State University Extension Educators with an aim to build long-term profitability into their business’s.
  • Third, regional “Positioning Your Dairy Business” workshops will offer producers a detailed evaluation and planning opportunities for long-term profits in your business.

 
The Dollars and $ense web site is designed with producers and their consultants in mind. There they will find a wide variety of tools designed to help the individual dairy businesses. In the drop down menus you will find tools such as, business analysis worksheets that can help calculate the  “cost of ” for an individual farm operation or partial budget worksheets to help guide purchase decisions, as just a couple of examples.

One great example, available at the web site, of a partial budget is the “Corn Picker” corn silage hybrid comparison software. This software will aid in the decision making process when choosing corn silage hybrids for an individual farm. 

There is also information to help make production management decisions regarding nutrition, reproduction, mastitis and other herd management areas.  Plus, there are tools for producers wishing to broaden their business base by developing alternative enterprises or to help clarify the decision making process on when to resize the farm business. And in every case, these tools come with a “fact sheet” which provides a description of the tools attributes, a detailed set of instructions for using the tool and a contact to an MSU Extension member who are available to answer questions.

Please feel free to contact the regional or campus based extension staff that best fit the questions you may have regarding these programs or information contained in this web site.

 

 

 

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