Illinois Dairy farmers are getting some help.
The State of Illinois said the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance is a newly announced program that will provide Midwestern dairy farmers and dairy-related businesses with financial and technical support.
This initiative, a joint effort coordinated by the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), was designed to support and promote the diversification and addition of value-added products to the Midwest dairy industry.
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Goals of the program include increasing on-farm diversification, creating value-added dairy products such as specialty cheeses, and focusing on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products.
«We want to allow dairy farmers and processors to be innovative for their futures. We hope to improve the situations on dairy farms, processing plants, and cooperatives,» said DBIA Program Director Karen Nielsen.
Officials said the grant application period is now open. Funds totaling $220,000 will be disbursed and awarded with individual projects receiving up to $20,000. The deadline to complete and return applications is August 14. Selected producers and business owners will be notified on Sept. 4.
DBIA is also coordinating online webinars and compiling resources for dairy producers and processors.