NPR - USING DAIRY ADVISORY TEAMS FOR BENCHMARKING AND DECISION MAKING
A dairy advisory team is a group of farm advisors working together with a dairy farm family towards a common purpose. Teams need structure and a designated facilitator to work well. This paper outlines the steps to creating an advisory team and shows the impact of dairy advisory teams on goal setting, benchmarking and decision making for improved performance on the farm. Dairy producers had the opportunity to participate in online training on the basics of team operation while facilitators learned about various tools in both case-based workshops and a webinar series. Following team formation and training, dairy producers were asked about their use of tools in decision making as well as successes and struggles with the team. Of the 330 teams that formed between 2011 and 2015 a subset of 47 (14%) provided information about their team. The monthly monitor tool was used in only 42% of the teams, but other similar benchmarking tools were being used by most teams. Nearly all teams used detailed production information, but less than half used financial information with the team. Teams were successful at improving communication and decision making with dairy farm businesses.
Keywords: Dairy advisory teams, benchmarking, decision making