Custom harvesters looking to bone up on client relationships, or offer dairy producers the incentive to go with their services, could make use of several publications put out by the Dairy Alliance.

The Dairy Alliance is an organization dedicated to “enhancing the economic development of the Pennsylvania dairy industry.” A Penn State University Cooperative Extension initiative, the group collaborates with county extension personnel, agribusinesses and producers, offering various publications.

For those of you with Internet access, visit: farmmanagement.aers. Under the “Our Programs” heading, click on “Custom Work” and you can gain access to:

  • A PowerPoint presentation offering six advantages to dairy producers when hiring custom operators. An accompanying Microsoft Word file looks at the costs associated with owning corn silage harvesting equipment.

  • Two two-page downloadable files explaining the custom operator's and the producer's roles in cultivating successful relationships with each other.

  • An eight-page downloadable file called: “Dairy Farm Business: Making Custom Work Profitable.” It covers a variety of issues associated with hiring custom operators, including economics, advantages and disadvantages — and whether a producer should do custom work.

  • A 36-page publication called “Custom Agricultural Business: A Guide to Get You Started.” This offers practical advice for those just getting started and a refresher course for veteran custom workers.

Many of these publications can also be ordered from: Publications Distribution Center, Penn State University, 112 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802-2602. Call 814-865-6713 or fax 814-863-5560. Expect a $5 shipping and handling charge for orders shipped within the U.S.

Also on that Web site is a “Custom Operators Database,” offering a connection between custom work businesses and the producers who need them. The database covers Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, New York and Maryland, offering all sorts of custom services.