In every profession, there are a set of skills that someone has to know to be successful. This is true for people interested in becoming dairy processors. For people interested in farmstead dairy processing this means that you will be looking at a series of skills for a dairy farmer and dairy processor. For those interested in using heritage breeds, especially the more critical populations, there is also a set of skills that will make you a successful conservation breeder.

In this section, you will complete a number of worksheets that will help you assess your level of skill in farming, dairy processing, and conservation breeding. These worksheets are important for you to fill out, even if you feel that you do not have any experience in farming. People from a wide variety of backgrounds are successful in dairy processing and dairy farming.
As you go through the sheets, have every person that will be involved in the enterprise do the worksheets independently. Come together after the worksheets have been completed to go over them. Do not feel bad if you need to find more specialized skill in any one area. You can hire out some of these tasks or go to the resources section of this workbook to learn more about workshops, consultants, and educational programs that may assist you in achieving these skills.

For many farmstead dairy processing businesses, it is often important to separate the person/people doing the dairy farming and the person/people doing the processing. This is not just for sanitation purposes, it is also necessary so that there is a clear line of responsibility and work assigned to specific people. The dairy people can help package a big product order and the processing people can help unload hay, but the responsibility and line of command need to be clear and separate.

Complete the following skills assessments to gauage your level of readiness:

Worksheet 1: Exploring the Small Farm Dream
Worksheet 2: Conservation Breeder Skills Assessment
Worksheet 3: Dairy Adding Value
Worksheet 4: Falk’s 55 Questions