UT Extension to Lead Value-Added Dairy Experiential Learning Course

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The SDBII Northeast Experiential Learning Course is planned for September 2-7, 2024

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Dairy farmers, value-added dairy producer-processors and industry partners from Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and other southeastern states are invited to join a University of Tennessee Extension experiential learning course this fall. The course is part of the Southeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (SDBII).

The SDBII Northeast Experiential Learning Course is planned for September 2-7, 2024. Course participants will begin the excursion in Albany, New York, before traveling to central Vermont for four days of programming, including visits to cheese processing facilities, creameries and other value-added dairy ventures. Course participants will be able to network with dairy producers from across the United States and visit with collaborators from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE DBIC) located in Montpelier, Vermont.

In addition to these networking opportunities, course participants will have the opportunity to participate in on-farm learning at a variety of value-added dairy operations in the northeastern United States. The course itinerary includes nine stops at farms where participants will learn directly from farm owners and staff about a variety of topics such as on-farm marketing, product packaging and agritourism. These sessions are intended to help value-added entrepreneurs analyze, develop and grow their farm enterprises. While the program focuses on dairy producers and processors, interested technical assistance providers and industry partners are welcome to participate as well.

“We are proud to provide a variety of learning opportunities and experiences to our southeastern dairy businesses and looking forward to learning from our colleagues in the Northeast. We hope we will have a bus full of people who are excited to learn and network with other innovators from the value-added dairy industry,” says SDBII Program Director Liz Eckelkamp, an associate professor in the UT Department of Animal Science.

An application for a seat in the Northeast Experiential Learning Course is required in order to participate, and spaces are limited. Submitting an application does not guarantee admission to the program. The deadline to apply for a seat in this learning course is August 5, 2024, at 6 p.m. EDT. The direct link to apply for a seat in the SDBII Northeast Experiential Learning Course can be found at tiny.utk.edu/NortheastDBIApp.

Accepted applicants will be financially and logistically responsible for their travel to and from Albany. A limited number of reimbursement scholarships are available to help defray the cost of travel. Scholarship awards will be prioritized for dairy producers, but may be awarded to other participants as funds allow.

Producers participating in the tour who successfully complete a program evaluation form will fulfill one of two Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) Producer Diversification educational requirements for the following Producer Diversification sectors: Agritourism and Value-Added. Questions about TAEP should be directed to the TAEP Producer Diversification Coordinator at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at producer.diversification@tn.gov.

Producers participating in this educational tour are also eligible for 5 hours of Tennessee Master Dairy Producer credit for the year.

Funding for this experiential learning course was made possible, in part, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. Additional information about SDBII can be found at tiny.utk.edu/sdbii.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Lauren Lawson

UTIA Marketing and Communications

Alaina Boyd

Center for Profitable Agriculture