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Missouri Dairy Growth Council: Who we are...

The MDGC is a group of individuals interested in growing a viable, thriving dairy industry in the state of Missouri. This group consists of dairy producers, and allied industry representatives, state government staff and university faculty. The current council exceeds 30 members dedicated to the cause.

Formed in January, 2003, the council meets regularly to explore opportunities in communication, legislation, education and capital sources for producers. MDGC has established a website for communicating with members, dairy producers, and others interested in the state's dairy industry. The council seeks out opportunities to be in front of producers looking to relocate or expand existing operations. The council annually sponsors a dairy financial summit to inform lenders of the specific funding needs of growing dairy operations.

The council helps with legislative efforts designed to enhance the availability of capital for new and expanding (size neutral) dairies. The council, working with the Missouri Department of Agriculture has previously made planning monies available for crafting comprehensive business plans, a qualifying step to procure additional capital for expanding operations. And, the council is motivated to find new dairy career opportunities for Missouri's young people.

We're focused on increasing the overall performance of the Missouri dairy industry by both growing our operations and by increasing production per cow of existing herds. We are intentionally working to eliminate and minimize barriers for success, so that we can improve the quality of life on dairy operations, and improve both animal welfare and milk quality. And we're seeking out Missouri communities that are interested in having dairy operations play a role in increasing their county's economic base.

MDGC's mission is to grow a stronger and more viable dairy industry. Our vision included addressing the Missouri dairy industry's challenges, including improving Missouri's existing production levels, expanding existing Missouri dairy operations, minimizing barriers to success for dairy in Missouri, and finding more career opportunities for Missouri young people in dairy.

MDGC utilizes these three key business drivers:

  1. Communications: maintaining a cyber-vehicle for communicating with existing dairy producers, prospective producers looking to Missouri to come and expand their dairy operations, and prospective members interested in furthering the Missouri dairy industry. Our website is www.milkmissouriinstyle.org
  2. Providing producer education that enhances their production results and operational efficiencies
  3. Provide business assistance and help create a more favorable business climate

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has played a critical role in helping to move our efforts forward. We would not have achieved what we have without their support.

The MDGC's accomplishments include:

  1. Hosting a dairy tours for legislators to a Missouri dairy(s) to show them how a modern dairy operates. We also conducted a dairy tour to Northwest Iowa where dairying has experienced a resurgence, particularly with the Dutch. Attendees included legislators and aids, plus prospective individuals interested in expanding and industry partners. This experience dramatically showed all attendees what could be done in rural communities, when all parties worked together to enhance dairying and agriculture in general
  2. Dairy Lender Summits (2) for dairy lenders, using nationally recognized speakers on dairy financing and expansion.
  3. Trade Show involvement: with the Missouri Association of Counties (commissioners), the World Dairy Expo, the Central Plains Expo, the Missouri Dairy Forum, and others. Our goal is to reach out to the county officials to show them the economic impact that dairy operations have for their communities, as well as touching base with prospective dairy producers looking to relocate when faced with a land squeeze from suburban growth in their home areas. Missouri will have one such prospect later this month touring the state, investigating the possibilities.
  4. Legislative efforts: The MDGC has championed legislation that would provide interest relief on the first year's interest for the purchase of replacement dairy females for expanding operations. We have also pursued Early Planning Grants that provide financial assistance to qualified producers seeking to expand, when they used a qualified dairy financial firm to help them reach an informed financial decision. This program was in place for one year and was administered through the MASBDA program.
  5. Secured other industry experts from outside Missouri to speak to the MDGC and their guests, including legislators, on what's worked in other states to rejuvenate their respective dairy industries. This has also included discussing immigration challenges.
  6. Missouri Department of Economic Development: The MDGC in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture has worked to foster a better relationship and a spirit of collaboration for promoting dairy expansion. This is an effort that needs additional attention and muscle behind it.

We're the Missouri Dairy Growth Council. Won't you join forces with us?


For more information or to make comments and suggestions, please contact:
Kurt Olsen
Dairy Development Coordinator, Missouri Department of Agriculture
Phone: (573) 291-5704
E-mail: Kurt.Olsen@mda.mo.gov