Another Round Of Grants Coming For Dairy Businesses

In early December, the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance announced 41 grants totaling nearly $4 million for farmstead operations and dairy processing businesses across the Midwest.

Thirty-seven grants are Dairy Business Builder grants targeting small-to-medium-size farmers or processors. The grants, totaling $3.3 million, go to businesses in nine of the 11 states covered by the DBIA. In addition, nearly 70 percent of awardees are first-time winners.

In total, including these grants, DBIA has awarded more than $13 million in grants to 129 dairy processing businesses in the Midwest. Next year, DBIA is hoping to add a searchable database of grant awards and project areas.

Just over 50 percent of all awards went to farmsteads, adds Center for Dairy Research Director John Lucey.

“Either these were farmers that decided to diversify their income or they already had started a farmstead operation and were trying to expand,” he says. “In terms of our overall goal of our industry of maintaining more people milking cows, having farms, and diversifying their business, this has been a huge success.”

DBIA also awarded four Dairy Industry Impact grants totaling $400,000 to dairy processing businesses in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This grant program supports projects in targeted topic areas that have the potential to positively impact the dairy industry. In the latest grant cycle, applications were accepted for projects related to exporting dairy products.

Lucey says a big trend he’s seen in the grant applications is a focus on supplying the local region or community with a local dairy product.

“They’re really serving local interests and local needs and really making stronger businesses,” he says. “That’s really important for the fabric of our rural communities.”

Find the list of awardees:

The next Dairy Business Builder grant cycle will open Feb. 5. Register now for the grant webinar on Feb. 7: