USDA Announces New Round of Funding for the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center
November 10, 2021 | Montpelier, VT – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an investment of $20.2 million in the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives. DBI awarded $18.4 million to three current Initiatives at University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and University of Wisconsin, and $1.8 million to the California State University Fresno.
Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, assisting 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.
“These awards will expand the scope of the Dairy Business Innovation program and provide much-needed support to small dairy farms and businesses as they continue to recover from the pandemic,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Moffitt. “In addition to initiatives in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest, a new initiative for the Pacific Coast is funded, led by California State University Fresno. These DBI initiatives provide the dairy industry with additional capacity and expertise that will go beyond immediate assistance and set the stage for a more secure future.”
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) is taking a targeted and intentional approach to supporting community and climate forward dairy production across the ten-state region served by this center. Farmers and processors will continue to directly benefit from opportunities through a combination of direct technical and business assistance, education, access to resources, and grants. Over half of total grant funds are allocated for innovation – bringing emerging ideas and strategies into the mainstream and making them accessible to farmers and processors at all scales across the region. Grants to dairy businesses will include access to professional marketing and branding services, on-farm and processor innovation, and sustainable packaging innovation.
“At the Northeast Center we prioritize projects that have clear impacts on dairy resilience, adaptability, and continuous improvement by making catalytic investments in projects that develop stronger systems and relationships,” said Laura Ginsburg, NE-DBIC Center Lead. “The ability to work regionally with this funding is a key element of the USDA Initiative's success, particularly in the Northeast where we are dependent on other states for production, processing, and consumption; collaborating with the other states yields projects with greater impacts and long term elevation of the region's dairy sector.”
Senator Leahy, who worked as member of the Agriculture Committee to establish the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative in the 2018 Farm Bill, and has since supported the program’s funding as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: “I thank Secretary Vilsack and USDA for making this initiative a high priority and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts and his staff for their great work in running the Northeast DBIC. The importance of this regional approach to dairy sector viability has been illustrated recently when Danone announced that it would abandon dozens of organic dairy farms in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The Northeast DBIC has quickly stepped into the lead, coordinating regional efforts to help these farmers and achieve the best path forward through this difficult transition. Whether through agritourism, new product development, or improved production practices, the DBIC is helping farms and dairy businesses of all shapes and sizes at a critical time for our region’s economy.”
The Northeast DBIC launched in February of 2020 and serves all New England states, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The Northeast DBIC provides support to dairy businesses through projects that promote the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products. Projects target dairy farms and processors while providing additional support through market research and technical assistance. The Center's investment and project strategy promotes innovation and resiliency for regional production of dairy products.
For more information and a look at funded projects to-date, please visit: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/dbic
To learn more about USDA’s investments in enhancing and strengthening agricultural systems, visit www.ams.usda.gov/grants.
Contact: Kathryn Donovan | NE-DBIC Coordinator | Kathryn.Donovan@vermont.gov | 802-585-4571