A $1.5 million in competitive grant funding program has been made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that seeks to help the dairy industry.
The Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives is authorized through the 2018 Farm Bill and supports dairies that diversify with on-farm processing and product marketing. The program also supports the use of regional milk production and aims to reduce risk for dairies while developing high-value dairy products. The program was announced on April 16 by USDA.
Funds from the DBI Initiatives are to be used for grants directly to dairy business, while also used for technical assistance. These grant projects have to be used for existing dairy industry resources. These include dairy farm density and farmland suitability for dairying, as well as activities conducted by dairy promotion and research programs, research organizations, dairy businesses, or academic and industry stakeholders.
Grants can be used for niche markets like specialty cheese or to assist dairy businesses with dairy products derived from the milk of a specific type of dairy animal, including products made from cow, sheep and goat milk.
The DBI Initiatives program has the support of Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) who proposed the Dairy Business Innovation Act during the lead up to the latest farm bill. Baldwin was particularly pleased with the grant initiative moving forward because of the support it can bring Wisconsin farmers.
“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 and low milk prices. 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,” Baldwin says. “I’m proud to create these new initiatives and open up new resources for our dairy businesses to foster innovation, update their manufacturing practices and reach new markets so Wisconsin’s dairy industry can continue to lead the nation.”
Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 17, 2019. For more information about grant eligibility, visit DBI Initiatives or contact AMSGrants@usda.gov.