The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Center for Dairy Research are celebrating USDA’s direction of $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance.
USDA will also make $22.9 million in agency appropriations available to DBIA and three other innovation centers operating nationwide in Fiscal Year 2022.
“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have proven to be an invaluable resource for dairy farmers and businesses because of their ability to provide targeted resources and funding through subawards at the local and regional level, maximizing impact,” says USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “As we celebrate National Dairy Month this June, USDA continues to look for ways to support America’s dairy industry, especially amidst ongoing supply chain and food system challenges.”
“This federal funding from USDA will help Wisconsin dairy businesses modernize, reach new markets, and create economic growth,” says U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who championed the Dairy Business Innovation initiatives. “The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives provide our farmers, cheesemakers, and dairy processors with the tools they need to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products.”
The additional $20 million in DBIA funding will support an expansion of the program’s service area to include Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio. Currently, the program covers Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Dairy businesses in broadened service area will also see a boost in direct-to-business grant funding available through DBIA. Successful grant applicants for the Dairy Business Builder grant will now be eligible to receive up to $100,000 each to support business-boosting projects. The Dairy Industry Impact grant will offer up to $500,000 per award to fund innovative projects with a broad impact.
ARPA funds will also be used to launch new dairy research projects focused on the creation of value-added products at the newly renovated Center for Dairy Research, and to support an innovative mentorship program engaging long-time dairy business leaders and cheesemakers to support entrepreneurship in the industry.
“We are thrilled to build on the impact of the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, strengthening dairy farms and processors and rural communities,” says WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer.
Umhoefer and CDR Director John Lucey thanked the Biden administration and Baldwin for recognizing the program’s stewardship and effectiveness with the historic investment.
“This critical investment in dairy innovation allows us to expand our DBIA grants and support programs to 11 Midwest states that produce over a third of all U.S. milk production,” Lucey says. “This funding also provides key investments in critical research and emerging opportunities, such as biofermentation of dairy residues…”
Since its inception, DBIA has administered over $3.7 million in 79 grants to dairy farms and businesses, conducted market research and product development projects, and delivered direct technical assistance to Midwestern dairy farmers and processors. Learn more: https://www.cdr.wisc.edu/dbia