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Dairy Processing Center Now Accepting Applications



The Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill has been working tirelessly to open the doors at the Dairy Processing Center (DPC). Thanks to several campus departments and the team at the DPC, we are pleased to welcome Mohawk Valley dairies, Farm and Food Business Development Program clients, and entrepreneurs to apply for product development services and small-batch processing utilizing the Dairy Processing Center. As a user of the DPC, you will be participating hands-on in the development and processing of your value-added dairy products. Our staff is on-site to assist you and provide valuable insight into creating a marketable product. In addition to technical training and access to equipment, the Institute also offers professional services through our suite of Farm and Food Business Development Programs. Before an application can be approved, you’ll need to have a detailed business plan that outlines sustainable strategies to bring products to market. This is required to ensure you are successful in your ambitions.   

Depending on where you are in your business and brand planning phase, you may consider joining a Farm and Food Business Development Program. The programs provide a wide range of supportive services at no cost for new and developing farm and food entrepreneurs, with the goal of helping you launch and grow your businesses. Offerings are tailored to your individual needs and range from support and training on business plan development to facilitating access to markets, resources, networks, funding opportunities, and ongoing business mentorship. By working with our team at SUNY Cobleskill and our other partners, you are taking an essential step in building a successful venture. We are here to help foster your success and help you succeed. Let’s have a conversation and together we can Grow, Sustain and Renew your business and a strong farm and food business industry.

Dr. Scott Ferguson
Executive Director
fergsss@cobleskill.edu – 518-255-5462

Jessica McLaughlin
Shared-Use Coordinator
institute@cobleskill.edu – 518-255-5043

Inquiry Business Development DPC User Fees



Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who can use the Dairy Processing Center?

A: Any dairy farmer who has a business plan, intends to process value-added dairy products and understands the time and other commitment required to be a successful entrepreneur. Farm and Food Business Incubator and Accelerator Clients will be given priority.  


Q: Do I have to be at the Dairy Processing Center when my milk is being processed?

A: Yes. The Dairy Processing Center is staffed with two experts that can assist you and will teach you how to use the equipment properly. However, you or a farm representative (18+ years old) must be present and actively participating in processing activities.  


Q: Does it cost me anything to use the Dairy Processing Center?

A: Yes. Users of the Dairy Processing Center are assessed an hourly fee for each hour that milk is in a value-added process in the plant and a base use price based on the volume of raw milk used. If you have questions about use fees, contact Jessica McLaughlin, Shared-Use Coordinator at institute@cobleskill.edu or 518-255-5043. 


Q: Is there assistance to help cover Dairy Processing Fees?

A: Yes. Each user may be eligible for up to $3000 in financial assistance, while funds last. Users who are awarded assistance will be required to attend business development workshops.


Q: Can I process multiple products in one batch?

A: Yes. Once you have applied and are an approved user, you will work with our team at the Dairy Processing Center to determine what products you can process in one batch given the time, input volume and resources available.


Q: Do I have to transport my own milk to the Dairy Processing Center?

A: The Dairy Processing Center is equipped to transport your raw milk from your farm to the plant for an additional fee. However, you are welcome to transport your own milk if you have the proper equipment and certifications. If you choose to transport on your own, you have to have a NYS Milk Handlers License and all equipment must be inspected by NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets.


Q: What certifications do I need?

A: As a Dairy Processing Center user, depending on what activities and products you want to process, you’ll be required to carry certain certificates. Our staff will assist in the process in determining what NYSDAM Dairy Business Licensing you need.  


Q: How long are the Dairy Processing Center Contracts?

A: Shared-Use Contracts for the Dairy Processing Center may be up to one-year terms. We will track progress and evaluate the need for longer or shorter contact terms as needed.


Q: Are there are any insurance requirements to use the Dairy Processing Center?

A: A Certificate of Insurance must be provided and must be accompanied by a completed Certification by Insurance Broker form. Such insurance shall remain in effect throughout the term of your contract. Our staff can help with identifying affordable and appropriate insurance. You’ll need:

  1. Comprehensive general liability insurance in the amount of $2,000,000 combined single limit.
  2. Workers compensation insurance and disability insurance in the amount required by New York State law unless the permittee is exempt from Workers Compensation requirements in New York State.


Q: What makes a strong application?

A: A strong application will show that you, as a business, have considered next steps beyond your Dairy Processing Center contract. Our plant is not a co-packer and is meant to prepare you for growth and accelerated business development.


Q: Who should I contact if I have more questions?

A: You can contact SUNY Cobleskill’s Shared-Use Coordinator, Jessica McLaughlin via email at institute@cobleskill.edu or by phone at 518-255-5043. 



Click Here to Learn about the Farm and Food Business Incubator and Accelerator.