Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers / Ongoing
By Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
Online self-paced courses on Good Manufacturing Practices and How to Identify Hazards & Risks For Beginners. Offered to Washington Cheesemakers by Washington Dairy Farmers as an in-kind match for our USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant award.
Registration open now. / $49; free to WASCA members with code
Vat Pasteurizer Workshop / Ongoing
By Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The course consists entirely of online self-paced content and is for individuals who have responsibility for operating the vat pasteurizer or for those thinking of starting a new small-scale business. The key components of vat pasteurization include the importance of pasteurization, pasteurizer construction, thermometer requirements, chart recorders, raw milk quality, and pasteurizer cleaning and maintenance. This course has rolling admission. You may begin the course once your registration and payment are confirmed. Participants have 4 weeks to complete the course, either at home or at their facility. Registrations are accepted at any time.
Pacific Coast Coalition-Dairy Business Innovation Initiation Grant Drop-In Office Hours / January 19, 2024 and February 8, 2024
The Pacific Coast Coalition-Dairy Business Innovation Initiation (PCC-DBII) has been officially awarded another U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for just over $1.8 million, with nearly $1 million available for dairy business grants. This represents the fourth such award under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program. A PCC delegation was on hand at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI as USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt, announced $23 million in awards to support dairy businesses and producers nationwide. These initiatives support small and mid-sized dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.
Dairy farmers and processors in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona will be eligible to propose projects for funding to aid in dairy product development, production, marketing and distribution from January 2, 2024 through February 29, 2024.
Online resources to aid such efforts include: an Office Hours webinar (passcode: 05hH+nCr), FAQs, and “Office Hours” for drop-in questions via Zoom from 4 to 5pm PST. on Friday, Jan. 19 and Thursday, Feb. 8.
“This new funding award from the USDA allows us to continue the direct-to-dairy processing business grant program as well as build capacity in university creamery pilot plants in support of industry new product development and current/future employee training,” said Dr. Carmen Licon Cano, PCC-DBII project director and director of the Dairy Products Technology Center at Cal Poly SLO. “This brings the total dairy processing related grants to over $25.3 million in the past three years.”
The PCC-DBII is funded by an initial $1.8 million grant in November 2021, a $19 million follow-up grant announced in July 2022 via CARES Act Pandemic Recovery, a $1.7 million grant in October 2022, and a $1.8 million grant in October 2023. “Cowkeeper” and co-project director, Dr. Susan Pheasant, shares that portions of the funding will specifically go to Cal Poly – SLO, California Dairy Innovation Center, Oregon State University, and Washington State University to support the upskilling of workers, prepare students to enter the dairy processing workforce, hosting of a conference for university creamery managers, and increasing materials on the eLearning HUBoffering open access educational materials and trainings.
Fresno State hosts the collaboration with eight other Western universities and the California Dairy Innovation Center. The program will also offer over hundreds of hours of industry training to foster innovation and best practices, often in bilingual forms for Spanish-speaking workers and entrepreneurs.
ONLINE APPLICATION (open January 2 – February 29, 2024): https://www.dairypcc.net/grant-applications
Drop in online. / Free
Business MiniVersity / January 29 – March 6, 2024
By Vermont Cheese Council
This is like an “intro to managing or running a business” course. We hit on leadership, hiring, management, finance and margins, strategy, and marketing topics. Sessions are designed for you to walk away with helpful/actionable information about how to run/manage a team or business with more know-how. Group size is small and personal for this – you’ll be able to have conversation and Q/A with presenters and other attendees in every session.
Suitable for new (or up and coming) business owners/managers and/or those who have run/managed businesses for a while – but never had training in these areas. Content/format is designed to help any cheese producers, value-added food producers, and specialty food retail/other business managers/owners in particular. Our attendees have included both business owners and managers/team managers. Some organizations have used it to help train existing or onboard new leaders/managers on their team, while others have attended prior to/to prepare to launch their own new businesses. Although we have many speakers from Vermont, presenters will share information applicable to those outside of the state.
All sessions are via zoom/virtual – open to attendees from any location. Every session will be recorded and available for watching later, in case you have to miss sessions for any reason. Sessions are scheduled on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET over 6 weeks, January 29 – March 6, 2024.
Online. / Registration open now / $100
Winter Artisan Cheesemakers Conference / February 15-16, 2024
By Vermont Cheese Council
This two-day virtual/online event is designed to provide exposure to new ideas and educational experiences for artisan cheesemakers – to help them advance their cheesemaking and business practices, as well as our industry as a whole. While our content focuses on information to support professional cheesemakers, attendance is open to all, including other cheese industry professionals, amateur cheesemakers, the general public, and anyone who wants to dive more deeply into the world of cheese.
PRESENTATIONS WILL BE RECORDED AND AVAILABLE TO WATCH AT LEAST THROUGH THE END OF MARCH – in case you need to step away to milk, make cheese, deliver cheese, etc.
Online / Register Now / $65-$110
2024 AgrAbility National Training Workshop / March 25-28, 2024 / Atlanta, Georgia
The AgrAbility National Training Workshop is the premier training event addressing issues of disability in agriculture. Professionals and consumers from all over the country participate in four days of plenary sessions, breakouts, tours, networking, and special events. Registration is open, and farmer stipend applications are also available now.
Grand Hyatt Atlanta/Buckhead in Atlanta, GA / $200-$525