The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $22.9 million in awards to support dairy businesses and producers under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program. The funds are being awarded noncompetitively to the four current DBI Initiatives at the California State University Fresno, the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the University of Wisconsin.
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USDA Awards $22.9 Million to Support Dairy Initiatives

The awards are part of the 2022 annual appropriations provided by Congress and are in addition to the $80 million in supplemental funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act awarded to the four DBI initiatives in June. This funding enables the DBI Initiatives to build on their achievements and continue to support producers in increasing processing capacity, making on-farm improvements, and offering technical assistance.

“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program is a unique and effective model that targets resources in ways that meet shared regional needs and builds upon local and regional dairy markets,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “This program is just another example of USDA’s commitment to strengthening our nation’s food systems by supporting local and regional producers.”

Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, supporting them with business plan development, marketing and branding, as well as, increasing access to innovative production and processing techniques to support the development of value-added products.

Recent DBI Project Successes:

-The Ocoee Creamery George in Haynes Old Fort, TN used SDBII funding to purchase a pasteurizing cheese vat that has increased their capacity to produce over three times the amount of product in a production run. Making this upgrade would not have been finically possible for another 3-5 years without the grant funding. Since the upgrade, the creamery has seen increased production, revenue, and efficiency.

-Holland’s Family Cheese in Wisconsin has seen the benefits of the Midwest initiative’s funding. In response to market changes due to the pandemic, the business needed to begin to package their raw milk gouda cheese in single serve package sizes. Midwest initiative funding allowed for them to purchase equipment to make this possible. They report they are now on track to increase their sales by 20%.

-Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery in North Smithfield, Rhode Island was awarded $50,000 to develop and implement a branding and marketing strategy for expanded ice cream production and retail at a new state-of-the-art food hub in Providence.

AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural products market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and congressionally funded grants.

To learn more about AMS’s investments in enhancing and strengthening agricultural systems, visit www.ams.usda.gov/grants.

Globally, consumers can’t get enough of the quality and taste of American dairy products. Foreign exports of American dairy are twice the volume of the nation’s domestic dairy consumption. Last year, about 18% of U.S. dairy production was exported, and economists forecast that percentage to grow more than 25% in 2023.

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