MADISON, WIS. – Dairy Business Builder grants worth a combined $2.5 million will go to 31 companies and cooperatives, the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) announced.
A grant program designed to benefit small- to medium-sized Midwest dairy farmers, entrepreneurs and processors, Dairy Business Builder grants focus on innovative projects. Per DBIA, examples of such plans of action include farm diversification, on-farm processing, value-added product creation and efforts to market dairy products for export.
Reimbursement grants for as much as $100,000 each were awarded to the following dairy companies and cooperatives:
• Smith Brothers Creamery LLC - McConnelsville, Ohio
• Specialty Cheese Co. Inc. - Reeseville, Wis.
• Thistle Dew Creamery - Vassar, Mich.
• Troyer Specialty Foods - Millersburg, Ohio
• Twin Springs Creamery - Bloomington, Ind.
• VernDale Products, Inc. - Detroit, Mich.
• Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company - Rudolph, Wis.
The DBIA, a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin, awarded the grants upon the completion of a competitive review process.
CDR director John Lucey said DBIA received 100-plus applications for the grants, from throughout its 11-state region.
“Almost all are first-time winners, and these funds will help them grow and innovate,” Lucey said.
Added John Umhoefer, executive director at WCMA: “Amid robust competition from across the Midwest, these projects stood out for their ambitious, distinctive approaches to adding value from farm to vat. We’re thrilled to support dairy innovation today and in the future.”
Funding from the US Department of Agriculture supports the DBIA, which was created in 2018 as part of the federal Farm Bill. To date, per DBIA, it has administered approximately $7 million in grants to 88 dairy businesses.