Meet the challenges of today’s marketplace

The Dairy Advancement Program (DAP) (previously known as the Dairy Acceleration Program) was expanded to provide more opportunities for New York farmers to address business needs necessary to meet the challenges of today’s marketplace and to better position themselves for long-term success. In addition to continuing to provide funding assistance for business planning, business analysis and advisory teams, new initiatives of the program focus on improving record keeping for decision making and operational budgeting to improve annual operations.

Additionally, funds provide for the formation of peer groups of dairy farmers focused on shared learning on specific management topics and analysis for improvement. The program also continues to provide funds for environmental planning through the development and implementation of comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMPs) and engineering of best management practices identified in the farm CNMP, facilitating the continued excellence in environmental stewardship on New York’s dairy farms.

DAP is funded through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The program is coordinated through Cornell PRO-DAIRY and delivered to farms in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and agriservice professionals.

Eligible projects assist New York dairy farmers to position their farm for long-term economic and environmental sustainability. Since its inception in 2013 nearly 650 dairy projects have been awarded funding, focused on small and mid-size farms across NY. An estimated $21 million has been reinvested as a result of these projects.

The business plans have assisted these owners with making sound business decisions for their dairies. Farm owners are analyzing options to enhance profitability and modernize facilities, from replacing an aging parlor with robotics, to building a brand-new facility. Many are also exploring diversification, transitioning management or joining forces with a new business partner.

The CNMP results in nutrient management planning that identifies best management practices for implementation to optimize water quality around the farmstead. Farmers using DAP funds for CNMPs note that the plan allows for maximizing the use of nutrients from the farm and reduced cost of fertilizer inputs as well as proper timing of nutrient application and planting of crops. Several farms have used DAP funds to augment other sources of funds such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or Ag Nonpoint Source (AgNPS) funds, facilitating the implementation of the farm CNMP.

More than 50 professionals assist with DAP projects, including Extension Educators, farm business consultants, facility planning professionals, AEM Certified Planners and Professional Engineers (PEs).

“The expansion of DAP is great news for our dairy farms,” said New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Not only will more farms be able to take advantage of PRO-DAIRY’s services, but they will also have the opportunity to benefit from new program initiatives designed to assist our farmers to more efficiently operate their business and better compete, which is critical in today’s challenging marketplace. DAP can help provide farmers with the resources they need to achieve economic stability while maintaining a commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and the program will end once the funds have been depleted or the contract period has expired. Additionally, projects are expected to begin within a reasonable period of time and move along on a consistent basis; if this does not occur, the award may be forfeited.

A small team of agricultural industry professionals will review your application for completeness and eligibility. Once approved, you will be notified by the project coordinator via e-mail if you have a working e-mail or via a letter if no e-mail is available.

Some categories may be combined. Environmental planning may be combined with any other category and some options under business planning may be combined, but these options may be found within the application.

Eligibility

  • 561 Heavy Use Area (e.g. concrete barnyard)
  • 367 Roofs and Covers (e.g. cover over a barnyard)
  • 317 Composting Facility
  • 316 Animal Mortality Facility
  • 635 Vegetative Treatment Area
  • 360 Waste Facility Closure
  • 632 Waste Separation Facility
  • 313 Waste Storage Facility
  • 634 Waste Transfer
  • 629 Waste Treatment
  • In addition funds may be used to:
    • Hire an engineer to certify an existing structure.
    • Complete a soils investigation that is associated with the design of an eligible BMP.
    • Complete a farmstead topographic survey that is associated with the design of an eligible BMP

Business planning funds are intended to be used for development of a business plan, not to organize financial records. If you don't have a current market value balance sheet and income statement, or one cannot be prepared relatively quickly from existing financial records, you should organize the records appropriately before applying for DAP business planning fund.

For a project that is business planning or facility planning only, the preference is for farms with less than 300 mature cows, milking and dry. A farm with more than 300 cows may apply and be approved depending the other eligible projects under consideration. All projects that request an AEM Certified Planner (CNMP planning) must be under 300 cows. Farms under 700 cows with a CNMP may apply for the design of eligible best management practices (BMPs) identified in the farm CNMP.

No, as an example, if a project requires design plans for a new freestall, you may use DAP business planning funds to pay for the design which would reduce the funds available for business planning by the amount charged by the service provided for developing the building plans.

Yes and in fact it is desirable to combine business planning for growth with planning for related environmental improvements so that capital costs for recommended improvements are taken into account in the business plan. As an example, a farm under 300 cows could use DAP funds for the development of a business plan and to develop a new CNMP. The total available funds in this instance would be $11k (up to $5k for business planning and up to $6k for a new CNMP).

Funding

Record keeping systems - Funds to defray the expense and initial support of financial, production, feed, cropping and other farm business record keeping systems and/or updating existing systems that contribute to the farm’s understanding of, and capacity for, analyzing financial and/or operating trends on their farm.

Operational planning - Funds to defray the cost of engaging a specialist to assist the farm with financial budgeting and planning for the next 12 months from an operational perspective to assist with analyzing costs and opportunities for improvement on the dairy.

Business planning - Funds to defray the expense of engaging a farm business specialist for planning and analysis of longer term impacts on the dairy (e.g. exploring diversification, transitioning to robotic milking systems, bringing in the next generation, upgrading current facilities, etc.)

Facility and/or Farmstead planning - Funds to defray the expense of engineering services to design new production related facilities ( parlor, new barn, dry cow or heifer facility, calf housing, value-added, etc.)

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) - CNMP is a conservation plan, unique to animal feeding operations, designed to evaluate all aspects of farm production and offer conservation practices that help achieve production and natural resource conservation goals. The CNMP is based on the combination of conditions found on each farm. The CNMP addresses management of manure handling, storage, treatment and application of manure and fertilizers as well as cropland nutrient management and field conservation planning for matching nutrient applications to crop needs as well as controlling erosion and runoff. The CNMP is also required for concentrated animal feeding operations to meet NYS ECL and CAFO permit requirements.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) - Beneficial farming practices for reducing environmental impacts to protect water and air quality. Examples include manure storage, vegetative treatment area, water and sediment control basin, etc.)

Any costs exceeding the value of the award are the responsibility of the farmer/applicant. Expectations for services and associated costs should be established up front when meeting with your project facilitator and service providers. Any unused funds go back to the available pool of funds to be used by another applicant. It is strongly recommended references be requested if unfamiliar with your service provider.

Facility design under business planning refers to the design of production related facilities (barn, parlor, dry cow housing, heifer housing, etc.). The funds may be used to pay for schematic drawings and whole farmstead planning. The funds used for facility planning would count toward the $5k limit for business planning. Design of BMPs (best management practices) are practices identified in your farm Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) and associated with environmental planning.