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$3.2 million boost for midwest dairy innovators

$3.2 million boost for midwest dairy innovators

By Andi Anderson

The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) has allocated $3.2 million in grants to 37 small dairy enterprises throughout the Midwest.

This funding, administered through a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Dairy Research (CDR), marks one of the largest rounds of grant distributions by the DBIA.

John Lucey, the CDR Director, expressed enthusiasm about the impact of these grants, stating, "This round of DBIA grant funding was one of the largest so far, with over $3.2 million awarded to 37 small dairy businesses to expand production of value-added dairy products across our region."

He noted that nearly half of the recipients were first-time awardees and that small farmstead operations constituted almost 40 percent of those funded.

The DBIA’s mission is to stimulate growth within the dairy sector by supporting small to medium-sized dairy operations in their innovative ventures.

These include dairy farm diversification, on-farm processing, and the creation of value-added products. Successful applicants receive up to $100,000 each after a competitive review, with the next application period set to open in August 2024.

John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director, emphasized the broader benefits of the initiative, highlighting that "DBIA backs projects aimed at fostering new growth and enhancing profitability, benefiting not only individual businesses but the broader dairy industry as a whole."

Recipients of this year’s Dairy Business Builder grants include a diverse group of companies and cooperatives like Alpinage Cheese LLC in Wisconsin, Baker’s Golden Dairy LLC in Ohio, and many others spanning states from Nebraska to Michigan.

These awards are a part of a broader effort by the DBIA, which has distributed 213 grants totaling more than $16.5 million since its inception under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DBIA also provides technical assistance and educational resources to dairy farmers and processors across its 11-state service region.

This ongoing support is vital in helping the Midwest dairy industry navigate challenges and seize opportunities for growth and innovation.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-jessicahyde

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