[September 12, 2013, Kennett Square, PA] – The Center for Dairy Excellence and Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formally recognize their partnership to help the state’s dairy industry increase profitability. 

The memorandum was signed by John Frey, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence, and Joan Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, on September 11 at the New Bolton Center campus in Kennett Square, PA. 

“This strengthened partnership is going to be productive and good for  and the Pennsylvania dairy industry,” said George Greig, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, who attended the ceremony.  I really believe in the Center and Penn Vet and their commitment to the dairy industry. We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us. Anything we can do to further that opportunity is tremendously beneficial.”

Center for Dairy Excellence, New Bolton CenterThe Center for Dairy Excellence and New Bolton Center have worked together for many years and collaborated on a detailed analysis of the dairy industry published last year. The “Pennsylvania Dairy Futures Analysis” recommends a plan of action to improve the profitability of the state dairy industry through 2020.

“This Memorandum of Understanding signals a new level of recognition of our partnership with the state and the dairy industry,” said Dean Hendricks. “I am pleased to see this formal partnership happening on my watch, so we can ensure that we are delivering on our vision to influence the financial health and productivity of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.”

One of the main architects of the memorandum is David Galligan, VMD, MBA, director of Penn Vet’s Center for Animal Health and Productivity at New Bolton Center.

“At Penn Vet, we are passionate about seeing the dairy industry meet the challenges of the future,” Dr. Galligan said. “We believe in healthy cows producing healthy products, and economically healthy producers operating environmentally healthy farms. It’s a natural synergy for us to partner with the Center for Dairy Excellence, which has those relationships with the farms that our resources can benefit.”

Dean Hendricks described the innovative programs created by Penn Vet’s Center for Animal Health and Productivity (CAHP) that are used around the world. The latest is Penn Vet’s Dairy Analyzer computer program that compares dairy herd production and business performance to industry benchmarks. “We focus on the economics, health, and production of animals, and ways to reduce the impact on the environment,” Hendricks said.

Frey said the pace of change in the dairy industry continues to be a challenge for the state’s farmers. “The goal of our analysis was to better position ourselves to safeguard Pennsylvania’s role as a leading dairy state,” Frey said. “As our industry changes, it will require tomorrow’s dairy farmers to be different than today’s. We are pleased to partner with Penn Vet, an organization that has the intense desire to provide unique resources essential to a profitable dairy industry.”

Walt Moore is the owner of Walmoore Holsteins Inc., a large dairy farm and milk transport company in Chatham in Chester County, PA, that has been in his family for 104 years. In recent years, he started working with New Bolton Center’s CAHP veterinarians to improve his farm operations. He has been able to increase his herd size to 850 cows from 600, and to increase milk production by 20 pounds of milk per cow per day, as a result of the collaboration.

“It’s been incredible,” Moore said. “With our farm just three miles down the road, we have benefited from working with the New Bolton Center for many years. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and talent right here in this organization.”

Moore said that Pennsylvania has the best soils, a great climate and is close to the marketplace. “The resources here are phenomenal, and the memorandum is a great opportunity to pool these resources to keep dairy moving forward,” Moore said. “With the advancement of new technologies, we can level the playing field and be an even stronger player in our national industry.”

Tim Kurtz, owner of Kurtland Farms in Elverson, PA, and a member of the board of directors for the Center for Dairy Excellence, increased his herd to 400 from 100 cows in the past year, in part because of the relationships that the Center for Dairy Excellence helped him establish.

“What really excites me is the big-picture stuff – dairy image and economics – and how we can develop strategic alliances like this one to address those issues,” Kurtz said. “When we do things together, we can really change the tide in the dairy industry.”

The memorandum states that Penn Vet and the Center for Dairy Excellence will:

·      Partner and collaborate at new levels to the benefit of the broader Pennsylvania dairy industry.

·      Provide leadership to identify and coordinate the direction, goals, and resources necessary to ensure a competitive, sustainable, and profitable Pennsylvania dairy industry.

·      Develop and implement cooperative partner resources that focus on improving dairy family business profitability and viability. An example of this would be Penn Vet’s Dairy Analyzer Program that would compare dairy herd production and business performance to industry benchmarks.

·      Engage in cooperative research projects that would introduce diverse dairy business models to provide information that will assist Pennsylvania dairy producers in increasing business viability and profitability.

Pennsylvania has the second-largest number of dairy farms in the nation, but the performance of those farms has been falling behind other states. As a result, the state established the Center for Dairy Excellence in 2004 to form partnerships and coordinate resources to give family dairy farms much-needed analysis and support to improve profitability and performance.

Pennsylvania is a national leader in the dairy industry, with 7,100 dairy farm families generating 10.6 billion pounds of milk and contributing more than $6 billion in revenue to the Commonwealth each year. The dairy industry supports more than 60,000 jobs related to farms, processing and manufacturing of dairy foods, and support industries.

About the Center for Dairy Excellence

The Center for Dairy Excellence is a non-profit organization initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in 2004. Bringing together people from more than 40 different dairy organizations in Pennsylvania, the center’s mission is to enhance the profitability of the dairy industry by empowering people, creating partnerships, and increasing the availability and use of resources. Learn more about the center at www.centerfordairyexcellence.org.

About Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, seeing nearly 33,000 patients a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. In addition to treating about 6,000 patients annually, New Bolton Center includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

For more information, visit www.vet.upenn.edu.