October 26, 2023

Interpretive Summary: USDA announces awards for dairy businesses

USDA announces awards for dairy businesses 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $23 million to support dairy businesses and producers under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program. The initiatives support small and mid-sized dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products. 

“Since 2019, the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have made significant impacts to the dairy industry and the agricultural economy as a whole through the funding of 441 projects,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Today’s additional funding will allow the initiatives to continue to provide the dairy industry and its businesses with tools and resources to ensure a steady supply of dairy products is available to consumers across the country.”

The DBI Initiatives support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products. DBI Initiatives provide direct technical assistance and subawards to dairy businesses, including niche dairy products, such as specialty cheese, or dairy products derived from the milk of a dairy animal, including cow, sheep, and goat milk. 

This year, the DBI Initiatives that will receive the funding are California State University, Fresno, the University of Tennessee, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the University of Wisconsin. This newly awarded funding will be used to provide valuable technical assistance and award funds 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.

In addition, The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) has been awarded $7 million by the USDA to continue their support of and investment in regional dairy resiliency. NE-DBIC offers grants to dairy farmers, processors, and technical service providers across the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

To date, NE-DBIC has awarded more than 210 grants totaling over $11.18 million directly to dairy businesses. This new $7 million will allow NE-DBIC to continue its direct support of dairy farmers and processors across the region, with a focus on dairy farm modernization, marketing and branding, processor and packaging innovation, and investment in supply chain resources, along with research on dairy’s economic impact in New England.

Learn more about the DBI Initiatives that received the grants here