Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Awarded $6.45 million to Lead Regional Dairy Innovation Center
By Laura Ginsburg, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is excited to announce its selection as one of three national USDA-selected Dairy Business Innovation Centers and will serve New England and some of New York. The original funding of $450,000 was supplemented with an additional $6 million with the passage of the federal budget in December.
The initial six priority areas focus on the following:
- Assistance for farmers who seek to add grazing as a production strategy;
- Processing and food safety education for cheesemakers;
- Consumer communication strategies for farmers;
- Marketing and branding assistance for value-added producers;
- Supply chain and distribution innovation;
- Market research on the potential for sheep, goat, and high-attribute milk.
The additional funds will allow the Agency to expand the number of projects and producers reached. Additional focus areas will be determined with producer and stakeholder input.
Receipt of these funds will allow Vermont and the region to focus on innovative ideas and projects that will give the dairy sector options. One of the most exciting opportunities of this funding is that half of the money will go out as grants to dairy farmers and value-added processors. The influx of funding will support projects at numerous farms and processors over the next few years, while providing additional support through market research and technical assistance.
The Dairy Business Innovation Center launched in February of this year; updates will be shared regularly in Agriview and online. Laura Ginsburg is the Center manager and can be contacted with any questions or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-522-2252