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Dairy Business Innovation Act introduced

By: Sydney Sheffield

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently introduced the Dairy Business Innovation Act of 2023. The bipartisan legislation will reauthorize and strengthen the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives to help more American dairy farmers and processors add value to their businesses, including creating new products, expanding their markets, and modernizing their production facilities. The DBI was created through the Dairy Business Innovation Act of 2018, which was also introduced by Senator Baldwin.

“Wisconsin Dairy is essential to our Made in Wisconsin economy and our state’s identity. I’ve heard directly from dozens of Wisconsin dairies that have expanded their businesses thanks to the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, and I’m proud to lead the charge to ensure this program has the resources it needs to help more businesses innovate and grow for the future,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our dairy farmers and producers face unique challenges and expanding this program will give more small- and medium-sized dairy businesses the tools and opportunity to reach new markets, implement efficiencies, and create world-class products.” 

The Dairy Business Innovation Act of 2023 will increase funding for the DBI Initiatives, authorizing $36 million per year, up from $20 million, to:

  • Support new and expanding dairy businesses: Centers provide assistance with business plan development, accounting, market evaluation, and strategic planning
  • Promote innovation in dairy products: Dairy businesses receive assistance with product innovation, marketing and branding, packaging, distribution, supply chain innovation, food safety training and consultation, and dairy product production training
  • Assist with dairy plant modernization and process improvement: Dairy businesses receive assistance with processing facility improvement, including assistance with plant upgrades, food safety modernization, energy and water efficiency, byproduct reprocessing and use maximization, and waste treatment 

The bill is supported by many in the dairy industry, such as the National Milk Producers Federation, Organic Valley, International Dairy Foods Association, Midwest Dairy Coalition, and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Jim Mulhern, President, and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation said, “We thank Senators Baldwin and Blackburn for their leadership to ensure the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program can continue to grow and thrive. Dairy has a long history of ingenuity and pioneering cutting-edge advancement, and this program helps support researchers and industry leaders as they work to continue to drive innovation.”

Since the 2018 bill, over $150 million has been distributed to the regional centers across the country, enabling American farmers and processors to modernize, reach new markets, and create economic growth. Read the Dairy Business Innovation Act of 2023 here.