A major development has the dairy industry jumping for joy, as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $20.2 million in support for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative. The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) is also cheering for the $6.13 million dedicated to the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a program administered by WCMA and the Center of Dairy Research (CDR).
“The strength of our agricultural economy, including the dairy industry, depends on strategic investments that help fund innovative projects and tailored technical assistance for producers and processors alike. We thank USDA Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for delivering this continued investment in the important work of the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.
According to the release, the program offers direct-to-business grants, free workshops, consultations, and industry research for dairy farmers and processors in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
“This program will allow us to continue to strengthen innovation in dairy businesses within the five Midwest states that make up the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance by providing expert training, technical assistance, and grants to support diversification and creation of value-added products,” added Dr. John Lucey, CDR Director.
Senator Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) was a major contributor to the funding, successfully leading the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program to passage through Congress as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Since the creation of the program, Senator Baldwin has championed increasing investments to support the work of the DBIA in Wisconsin and across the Upper Midwest. Programs in California, Tennessee, and Vermont have also received funding.
“Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy, and with all the challenges they face, I’m working to do everything I can to help,” Senator Baldwin stated. “This federal funding from USDA for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives will help Wisconsin dairy businesses grow their business, modernize their dairy plants and reach new markets. 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. I’m thankful that President Biden and Secretary Vilsack are committed partners in supporting Wisconsin’s dairy economy and rural communities.”
Cheers all around as we look forward to new innovations and advancements from our industry.