Aligning Incentives for Contract Dairy Heifer Growth

As dairy farms grow and specialize in milking cows, raising replacement heifers is increasingly outsourced. Perhaps the largest challenge of outsourcing the heifer enterprise involves quality, measured as milk production potential, and the possibility for moral hazard due to hidden action on the part of the custom heifer grower. A principal-agent framework was used to elicit contract terms to provide incentives for the heifer grower to achieve desired growth rates, and enable the return of the heifer to the dairy farm on an accelerated time frame, without sacrificing quality. To mitigate incentive asymmetries, bonuses and deductions are proposed.


Olynk, Nicole J.; Wolf, Christopher A., Aligning Incentives for Contract Dairy Heifer Growth, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 35, Issue 3, December 2010, Pages 489-502

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