UBC Research Data

The Entrepreneurs: Dairy farmer perspectives on finding an industry solution for the surplus calf issue – a participatory case study Proudfoot, Kathryn; Hendricks, Jillian; Higgens, Amy; Roche, Steve; Ritter, Caroline; Renaud, David; von Keyserlingk, Marina


The main objective of this case study was to pilot a novel methodology to deepen our understanding of how dairy producers envision the future of surplus calves in Atlantic Canada, including identifying who they felt were important to speak to as they discussed this topic. A second objective was to understand the perspectives of a key group the producers requested to speak to, representing a variety of dairy industry partners, including veterinarians, genetics companies and animal welfare scientists amongst others (referred to as the allied industry) on the future of surplus calves. To reach these objectives, we used an inclusive participatory approach that, to our knowledge, has not yet been applied to the surplus calf issue. This approach included a series of five participatory group discussions with volunteer dairy farmers from Atlantic Canada; the allied industry group was invited to two group discussions. Key themes from the discussions included: 1) challenges with surplus calf production on the dairy farm, such as a lack of knowledge about what type of calf would be desired by the marketplace, 2) the role of leadership and partnership in the creation of a dairy beef system, including the need to overcome communication barriers between different stakeholders, 3) post-farm gate aspects of surplus calf production, including the desire to cater to a local market, and 4) ensuring that the proposed system is economically and socially sustainable.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


CC0 Waiver