Dairy Cohort Technical Assistance Contract

Contract Overview

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) seeks multiple contractors to offer cohort technical assistance for one or more of the following topics for dairy farmers or processors: increased grazing quality or quantity, home-grown forage enhancement, alternative herd management, innovative staffing and business management, marketing and education of dairy production practices, food safety and processed product production practices, value-added product marketing/sales, and production management. 

Each cohort will consist of at least 5 dairy farms or processors and will be available for enrollment to farms based in one or more of the following Northeast states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 

Contractor expectations are as follows: 

  • Recruit dairy farmers or processors for the cohort group.
  • Host on-farm or in-person cohort learning opportunities.
  • Provide one-on-one technical assistance to cohort members.
  • Work with participant farmers to determine if their project would benefit from NE-DBIC grant funds to implement project activities. If so, support farms or processors in developing a grant plan and application for funds.
  • Communicate and coordinate with other contracted service providers awarded through this bid.

Contractors will have the flexibility to work with dairy farmers or processors of any scale, type of dairy animal, type of products produced, certification status, and current condition of the farm. Each participant will receive a mixture of one-on-one and group business and technical assistance over 18-24 months.  

The contractors selected will each propose a workplan which serves a cohort of at least five participants that are ready to undertake one or more of these areas:  

  • Increased Grazing Quality or Quantity 
  • Home-Grown Forage Enhancement 
  • Alternative Herd Management 
  • Innovative Staffing & Business Management 
  • Marketing & Education of Dairy Production Practices 
  • Dairy Processor Food Safety, Production Practices, Marketing/Sales, and Production Management

**This funding opportunity is currently closed.**

Funds Available

Contracts will be issued for up to $150,000.

Total funds available $500,000.

How to Submit a Proposal

  1. Review the full Request for Proposals (RFP) for complete details on eligible projects/applicants and the full proposal process.
  2. Submit any questions or comments in writing to Laura.Ginsburg@vermont.govQuestions are due: October 27, 2023 at 4:30 PM ET.  Questions will be answered individually as they are received. A compilation of all questions received and their corresponding answers will be posted by October 31, 2023 on the RFP webpage. 
  3. Include the following elements in your bid: cover letter, project abstract, contractor background and experience, resumes or CV’s of project team leader and each team member, project approach, budget, references, Certificate of Insurance, Form W-9, evidence of an active SAM.gov registration, signed Certificate of Compliance, as outlined in the RFP.
  4. Submit all bid elements as a single PDF document to Laura.Ginsburg@vermont.govRFP Response deadline: November 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm ET.

Previous Rounds

This is the fifth round of cohort-based technical assistance contracts that NE-DBIC is offering. Early contracts through this program focused solely on moving production systems along the grazing continuum and are currently ongoing with cohorts based in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Fall 2021, the program expanded to include forage and non-traditional farm management strategies. Four additional cohorts supporting farmers in Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and New Hampshire expanded reach to include topics such as “low overhead grazing”, nutrition, healthcare, agronomy, farm financials, and herd tracking technology.  Building upon these earlier rounds of contracts, this round of funding further expands to include an even wider breadth of services which prioritize the development of several cohorts across the Northeast region through which will directly serve dairy farmers. 

To date, this program has funded eight cohort projects across the Northeast through Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP), Conservation Performance LLC, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and University of Vermont Extension. 

Read about the impacts of the pilot program offered through technical assistance provider, Cheryl Cesario, grazing specialist with University of Vermont:

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