U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced two major wins for Wisconsin dairy farmers and our agriculture economy through her Dairy Business Innovation Initiative which helps dairy businesses looking to get their start, grow their business, modernize their dairy plants and reach new markets. Baldwin’s Dairy Business Innovation Act was included in the 2018 Farm Bill that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.
The new federal funding for Wisconsin dairy is the result of Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan work to secure key investments to support dairy product innovation and address the oversupply of milk by providing resources to help dairy farmers and cheesemakers develop new products and expand markets.
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a significant increase in funding for Baldwin’s dairy business innovation program. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Baldwin successfully secured $20 million for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives Program, an increase of $18 million from the previous fiscal year. The Appropriations legislation will next go before the full Senate for a vote.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture selected Wisconsin to host the new Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, which will be a Midwest hub that supports dairy entrepreneurs and helps farmers find new ways to be profitable and meet consumer demand during this very difficult time. The new initiative will receive $454,000 to start it’s work providing technical assistance and grant funding to dairy businesses and entrepreneurs.
“I’m proud to stand with Wisconsin’s dairy leaders and work together to open up new resources for our dairy businesses to foster innovation, update manufacturing practices and reach new markets so Wisconsin dairy can continue to lead the nation. With this initiative, we’re making sure that the world-class research expertise at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Research can reach more of our farmers as they work to build a better future for our rural communities,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy, but recently our dairy farmers have faced very challenging times with an oversupply of milk, low milk prices and tough impacts from tariffs. It’s critical that farmers, cheesemakers and dairy processors have tools to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward.”
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance will be led by the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in partnership with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and with the support of many other dairy and agriculture stakeholders. Many dairy farmers and processors support Senator Baldwin’s efforts to support dairy businesses including the International Dairy Foods Association, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute, National Milk Producers Federation, Midwest Dairy Coalition, and more.
“We thank Senator Tammy Baldwin for her unwavering support of Wisconsin’s family farmers and cheesemakers. From start to finish, Senator Baldwin has lead the charge on the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, a program designed to provide targeted, smart investments in industry training, product development, and marketing to boost growth. Together with our partners at the Center for Dairy Research, we’re excited to bring this project to life,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.