Home on the Dairy

It’s a season of change for the Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI), an organization that exists to help dairy producers succeed.
  
The changes started last fall, when the organization changed its name to MDI rather than having different names in different regions of the state, including the Southwest Minnesota Dairy Profit Group in the southwest corner of the state. A new logo accompanied the name change and in May, the organization launched its first website.
  
MDI’s mission is to “help existing and potential dairy producers succeed through team-based on-farm education, resources and networking.”  Its services are available to all dairy producers, regardless of size or production, and are custom-fit to the needs of each dairy.
  
MDI’s coordinators organize farm diagnostic visits, identify opportunities for the dairy based on the visit, prioritize opportunities, develop a plan of action and adjust goals as needed. MDI can help producers with everything from reproduction and herd health to estate planning and profit margins.
  
“I always tell people our job is not to know all that stuff, but to know who to pull in,” said Merri Post the coordinator for the past 13 years.
  
That could include experts from the University of Minnesota, veterinarians, engineers, mediators and farm psychologists.
  
In the southwest region of the state, MDI is changing coordinators, a transition that began last November when Keela Fick became the new MDI coordinator for the southwest region, and one of two coordinators covering southwest Minnesota from north of Canby to the Iowa border and east to U.S. Highway 71.
  
Post is shifting her attention to the family dairy near Chandler. After her youngest son went off to college, he left a gap in their dairy’s workforce.
  
“We just had too many things on the farm not getting done,” Post said.
  
She and her husband, Bill, milk around 115 to 120 red and white Holsteins. Post said the need to help on the family dairy was the driving factor in her decision to step down as MDI coordinator, but she also felt it was time for a change for the position.

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