U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development, announced $22.9 million in awards to support dairy businesses and producers under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program, including over $7 million for Wisconsin. Senator Baldwin authored the bill creating the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative program, successfully shepherding its passage in 2018.
The awards are part of the 2022 annual appropriations provided by Congress and are in addition to the $80 million in supplemental funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act awarded to the four DBI initiatives in June. This funding enables the DBI Initiatives to build on their achievements and continue to support producers in increasing processing capacity, making on-farm improvements, and offering technical assistance.
“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiative has created brighter futures for many dairy farms who drive our rural economy forward. I am proud to have secured this critical funding in the 2022 government funding bill so that farmers, cheesemakers, and dairy processors can continue to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products,”said Senator Baldwin. “As our dairy economy faces supply chain challenges, federal dollars for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives will help Wisconsin dairy businesses to address those challenges, through growing their operations, modernizing their dairy plants and reaching new markets.”
The $22.9 million in federal funding is being awarded noncompetitively to the four current DBI Initiatives at the California State University Fresno, the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the University of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin will receive $7,053,333.
“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program is a unique and effective model that targets resources in ways that meet shared regional needs and builds upon local and regional dairy markets,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “This program is just another example of USDA’s commitment to strengthening our nation’s food systems by supporting local and regional producers.”
Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants 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.