When battles on the frontline of food innovation seem insurmountable, it’s comforting to know that representatives like U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) are working behind the scenes to make progress. Last week, she managed to secure $20 million in funding for Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) in Fiscal Year 2020. The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) is extremely thankful for Senator Baldwin’s championing of the cheese industry and expects to see great initiatives as a result of this funding.
“We are deeply grateful for Senator Baldwin’s leadership, both to create the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, and to fight for their funding,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director. “She has been a tireless champion for dairy farmers and dairy processors, working to stabilize and strengthen our industry.”
According to a press release, the WCMA partnered with the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in order to lead one of three regional DBII centers. Fiscal Year 2019 provided the initiative with over $450,000 in funding.
“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, low milk prices, and tough impacts from tariffs,” said Senator Baldwin. “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.”
The WCMA-CDR project, called the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, will soon offer low- or no-cost workshops designed to grow the dairy industry and allocate grants directly to dairy businesses for product development and marketing. The Alliance is set to serve dairy farmers and processors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.
“With targeted investments, we can create and market more value-added dairy products, increasing the profitability of family farms,” said Umhoefer. “We’re excited to work toward that goal, and deeply appreciative of the support that Senator Baldwin has secured.”
Congratulations to the DBII for securing this crucial funding. To see how the association continues to evolve, keep checking in with us at Deli Market News.