I am having a privilege to spend two days in Brookings, SD where the Midwest Dairy Association corporate board is meeting this week. The theme of this meeting was dairy research, and we had the opportunity to visit the new dairy pilot plant that is less than one month from being officially opened. Exciting times for SDSU! As a testament of importance of dairy to local economy, Mr. Walter Bones, Secretary of South Dakota Dept. of Agriculture emphasized that economic analysis indicates that total economic impact of one dairy cow is over $13,000, more than 8 times the market price of a cow.

My heart was racing as I stepped on the stage for the first time to introduce myself and the mission of my position at UMN to dairy farmers. As I said in my short presentation, my research agenda can be summarized with “4 P’s” – though a little different Ps than in “4Ps of marketing”:
People – understanding consumer trends, estimating demand for dairy products and figuring out in general what people wish to consume.
Price – price analysis using time series techniques
Product – Figuring out how to use the knowledge about price behavior and consumer insights to contribute to fundamental dairy science research that enables industry to produce products that satisfy the potential demand
Process – working with partners in the manufacturing industry to develop processes that can produce the products we need for a price we can sell it for to people that want it, thus closing the loop.

After the agenda for the first day was done, we went for a tour of the Institute for Dairy Ingredients Processing. In the photo above I am standing with Ken Herbranson, a dairy farmer from Minnesota. Ken is serving as the Secretary of the MDA corporate board, and the chair of MDA MN division board. Behind us is a beautiful four-stage ultra/microfiltration system.

My favorite part of the day was after-dinner chat with dairy farmers. I enjoyed talking about milk marketing and role of research, and I am happy to be able to visit several dairies soon.


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