Value Added Dairy Resources
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Value Added Dairy Production
“Value added” can mean different things. In this case, it refers to the value of a product at various points in the supply chain or to the value a consumer is willing to pay for ‘extra.’ As it relates to dairy farming, value added often means that milk is processed on the farm (farmstead), instead of being sold through a buyer or cooperative.
In North Carolina, we have over 40 value added dairy operations, including those who are buying milk directly from farmers and making products like cheese and ice cream. Most dairy farmers ship high quality, fluid milk from their farms and focus most of their efforts on the management of the cows and cropping systems. Value added dairy producers have several different layers added to their business structures, and this page is designed to be a resource for those who are already processing as well as those who are considering it as an option for their farm and family. Check out all the resources available on the side menu or below for information on conferences and other educational opportunities, food safety resources and trainings, links to regulatory information from our partners at the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and the recently announced Dairy Business Innovation Grant program through USDA-AMS.
Dairy Business Innovation Initiative
Existing and prospective value-added dairy businesses in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky that develop, produce, market, or distribute dairy products are now eligible to apply for funding through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (DBII), an effort supported by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
- 2022 Grant Opportunity
- 2022 DBII Grant Info Session Recording
- August 2022 Workshops on Assessing Value-Added Business Expansions
One of the goals of the DBII grant is to expand the Dairy Gauge tool used by UT extension to create a multi-state set of data to create a southeastern dairy benchmark. Extension faculty from Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky have been tasked with gathering data from farms across the region over the three-year period of the grant that will be aggregated, analyzed and anonymized. Participants in the program will be provided with an annual report that will include their own data compared to the average/range of all participants. This is a confidential program, and no individual farm information will be released.
Value Added Conferences
- 2022 Southeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiative Annual Conference (Raleigh, NC)
- 2021 Value-Added Dairy Conference (Bowling Green, KY)
- 2020 North Carolina Value-Added Conference (Asheville, NC)
Dairy Food Safety and Product Development
- Food Safety Education and Training
- Rheology Lab (product evaluation and testing)
Regulatory Links and Information
- N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services – Starting a Food Business
- N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services – Key Contacts for Grade A Dairy Products (all fluid milk, regardless of species, fat content or inclusions; cultured products; and cottage cheese).
- N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services – Key Contacts for Food Program (cheese, ice cream, ice cream mix, and butter)