When asked to provide feedback for the focus of the upcoming National Dairy Study, over 600 dairy producers from across the country responded. This study is the first of its kind to take place in Canada and will be similar in scope to the United States’ National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) dairy study. However, to ensure that the Canadian study reflects the needs of Canadian producers a call for feedback went out to all dairy stakeholders in the country.
Over an eight week period, starting in March 2014, producers, government personnel, and other allied industries (ex. veterinarians and nutritionists) were asked to complete a 10-minute on-line survey. In total, over 1000 responses were received, with 58% of the respondents being dairy producers.
In the survey, participants were asked to prioritize a number of management and health concerns that were important to the sustainability of the industry. Once the data were analyzed, the top five issues for each stakeholder group were identified.
It is reassuring to see that all groups have the same first priority, and that there are many overlapping areas of concern. These results are invaluable. They have provided major areas of focus for the study as it moves forward. The next step will be to consult with experts in these respective fields to narrow these general areas down to specific questions and ensure there is no overlap with other ongoing projects across the country.
This needs assessment helped ensure the upcoming study will be relevant to Canadian producers and the industry by getting input directly from the major stakeholders. It has also raised awareness and support for the next phase of the study.