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Mary Kate MacKenzie ‘17 joins the PRO-DAIRY team full time

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  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • PRO-DAIRY
  • Animal Science
  • Dairy

For over 30 years PRO-DAIRY has dedicated itself to one goal: To foster a progressive New York state dairy industry through its programming and leadership. Through results-driven education and research, PRO-DAIRY specialists have contributed to the technical knowledge, management skills and economic strength of New York’s dairy industry since 1988.

PRO-DAIRY Farm Business Management programs are designed to positively influence dairy business management skills through financial analysis programs, management education programs, group discussions, business management presentations and network building. These efforts help enhance dairy business’ financial success. Mary Kate MacKenzie joins the PRO-DAIRY team full-time as a farm business management specialist on August 1 and shares how she will partner with farmers across New York state.

What experience do you bring to PRO-DAIRY?

I have five years of experience as a farm business management specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension's South Central NY Dairy and Field Crops Team. Before that, I worked the Entomology Department at Cornell for a year and a half, providing business management education and support to beekeepers. I completed my M.S. in Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University in 2017. For the past three years I’ve held a joint appointment with CCE and PRO-DAIRY. I have experience teaching QuickBooks classes and helping dairy farms improve their recordkeeping systems. I also provide bookkeeping and business management support for my family’s grazing farm and retail meat business in Naples, NY.

What is the most memorable part of working in an applied research and extension education position? 

I value the relationships I have with farm families that I have worked with over time. It is exciting to see how small improvements can lead to bigger changes. I particularly enjoy working with younger dairy managers to build financial literacy skills. Helping a farm’s junior generation become more engaged in financial analysis and decision-making is a critical step in the succession planning process. The most memorable part of my work is seeing a farm complete their business transfer and hand over the reins to the next generation.

What impact do you hope to have for farm families?

I bring a passion for helping farm families improve management skills to advance business and personal goals. I will be working with the Dairy Farm Business Summary, Dairy Profit Monitor, and Discussion Group programs. I will also lead efforts to develop online educational tools in support of business and financial management on dairy farms. My hope is that this work will help New York’s dairy farms adapt to an ever-changing business environment and position themselves for long-term viability.

What excites you most about joining the PRO-DAIRY team?

When it comes to dairy farm financial analysis, benchmarking, and peer-to-peer learning, PRO-DAIRY is a national leader. I am excited to support PRO-DAIRY’s longstanding, high-impact business management programs and expand their reach. I look forward to building relationships with dairy producers and using applied research to help them make better management decisions and solve real-world problems. 

How do I contact Mary Kate?

Email Mary Kate at mkw87 [at] cornell.edu.

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