By Ali Boochever, Grants Coordinator at NE-DBIC
The 2022 On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling grant cycle was one of the most competitive rounds the NE-DBIC has seen with over 175 farms applying for the grant!
Awards in this round ranged from $20,000- $50,000, with a total of $1,039,340 in overall funding.
By providing financial support for equipment upgrades, the On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant program has helped Northeast dairy farmers improve milk storage, handling, and energy efficiencies.
Many farms installed larger bulk tanks to allow for greater volume of milk storage and every-other day milk pickups. Others added specialized equipment including plate coolers, glycol chillers, and pipeline systems. Every-other day pickups lead to savings on hauling costs, decreased fuel usage, and increase energy efficiency.
Notably, in light of the major flooding events in Vermont and parts of New York this week, on-farm milk storage is showing to be a substantial benefit in the face of major disaster.
Expanding on-farm storage will likely continue to play a role in climate resiliency. Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ Dairy Section Chief, E.B. Flory, remarked:
“Three days [milk] storage is a significant game changer during crisis. The appreciation for efforts put into our territory… is shining through during this time of crisis. It’s making a difference to multiple sectors of the dairy industry. In a time of crisis, that extra day [of storage] gave us the ability to wait for the roads to be fixed and time to figure out logistics. A bigger tank may not seem like much but it really kept us from seeing large amounts of milk being dumped.”
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the 23 recipients and the positive transformations they have achieved.
Lost Hollow Farm: Maximizing Efficiency and Energy Conservation
Located in Pennsylvania, Lost Hollow Farm utilized the grant to replace their old bulk tank with a 4,000-gallon bulk tank accompanied by a Fre-Heater system. The upgraded tank enables them to switch to shipping milk every other day, resulting in savings on hauling costs, energy, and chemical usage. The Fre-Heater system recovers heat from the milk cooling process and repurposes it to hear hot water for the farm, promoting energy conservation and reducing expenses.
Blue Hill Farm: Streamlining Operations for Enhancing Milk Quality
Blue Hill Farm in Morrisville, New York, invested in a used 6,000-gallon bulk tank, complete with condensing units, control systems, and a washer. This substantial upgrade replaced their previous 1,000-gallon bulk tank, allowing them to transition to shipping milk every other day. The larger tank not only reduces hauling charges but also improves milk cooling and transfer efficiency, resulting in reduced electrical costs. With enhanced milk storage and handling, Blue Hill Farm can ensure the higher standards of milk quality throughout the transportation process.
Owner Corinne Baker says about the funds: “This project would not have been possible without the grant… We are truly appreciative for the funds we received to make this happen.”
Wil-Roc Farms: Precision Metering and Improved Milk Quality
Wil-Roc Farms, situated in Kinderhook, New York, opted to install a Piper AccuStream milk metering and in-line sampling system. This cutting-edge system eliminates inaccuracies in metering and component sampling, leading to more accurate measurement and sampling of milk during loading onto trailers. The enhanced accuracy enhances relationships with processors and streamlines milk handling. Accurate bacterial and component data also increases milk quality premiums while reducing labor associated with troubleshooting equipment.
Maple Lawn Dairy: Optimal Cooling and Efficient Milk Pickup
Maple Lawn Dairy, located in Lyons, New York, upgraded their plate cooler with a new dual-port plate cooler system. This system utilizes water from two wells to provide effective pre-cooling to their milk, ensuring it enters their new 8,000-gallon bulk tank at the ideal temperature. The new bulk tank replaces their previous 2,000-gallon bulk tank, enabling more efficient milk cooling and transition to ever-other-day milk pickup This upgrade results in energy savings and improved milk quality.