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Dairy Packaging Innovation Grant

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Grant Overview

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces the availability of funds through the Dairy Packaging Innovation Grant program, which will provide grants to projects that decrease environmental impacts of dairy product and supply chain packaging and increase marketability of dairy products. Grant funds are available to projects along the spectrum of research, development, and implementation and for projects at a variety of scales. Projects will be collaborative and include an educational or information sharing component.

The NE-DBIC seeks industry players who are actively engaged in innovation through their business and/or organization to develop projects that support modernized, climate-forward dairy packaging initiatives which address the full life cycle of packaging from production to disposal or reuse. Projects should increase collaboration across the dairy sector to ensure the greatest number of businesses will benefit. All projects must demonstrate sustainability, regional scalability, and marketability at the forefront by demonstrating: 

  1. The reduction or elimination of virgin plastics in packaging along the dairy supply chain, including during manufacturing, transportation, sales, and/or disposal. This can be demonstrated through one or more of the following:
    • Increased ratio of packaging that is reusable, more highly recyclable, or made from a greater volume of recycled materials. 
    • Developing improved access to and utilization of recycled/recyclable packaging, compostable packaging, or other solutions to eliminating single use packaging for dairy products.
    • Developing improved access to and utilization of recycled/recyclable packaging, compostable packaging, or other solutions to eliminating single use packaging for dairy products. 
  2. Accessibility of packaging research/technologies/solutions that will benefit small and mid-sized Northeast dairy processors. This will be made evident by including an educational/knowledge sharing component for the industry as a significant component of each project proposal. (This does not exclude the ability for the grantee to acquire patent protections for technologies developed within this grant project.) 
  3. That the project leverages existing science, research, and/or knowledge on packaging innovation.
  4. A collaborative project which leverages partnerships across dairy and manufacturing. 
    • Applicant must include a minimum of one dairy processor as a key partner if applicant is not a dairy processor or producer association.

Projects may address topics such as, but are in no way limited to: packaging lifecycle analysis, costs of conversion, supply chain logistics, research and development, packaging design, processor packaging changeovers, infrastructure upgrades, and beyond. Projects focused on research, development, and analysis must contain outcomes that can be implemented or adopted, and the grantee must show commitment to resulting from research funding. Priority will go to projects that partner across the dairy and packaging manufacturing sector and those that can demonstrate how they will positively impact multiple dairy businesses and supply chain partners.

This grant round will include a two-step application process. Following the review of pre-applications, a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application.  

  • Pre-Application Opens: June 29, 2023
  • Pre-Application Deadline: August 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Grants will range from $75,000 to $350,000 with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required.  Total funds available: $1,000,000. 


Applicants eligible for these funds must fall into at least one of the following categories:

  1. Dairy processors that transform fluid milk, dairy components, or dairy mix sourced from the Northeast region into an edible product and are: 
    • licensed dairy processor in compliance with all required state and/or federal standards, as required for the sales outlets reached during the timeframe of this project; and
    • headquartered or based in the Northeast.
  2. Dairy producer association/dairy council  which represents and promotes dairy products and dairy businesses of the Northeast.
  3. Packaging manufacturers that partner with at least one Northeast dairy processor, as defined above. 
  4. Supply chain businesses (distributors, aggregators, retailers, etc.) that partner with at least one dairy processor, as defined above. Applicant business must:
    • be headquartered or based in the Northeast; and
    • source dairy products within the Northeast; and
    • purchase from and sell to businesses in the Northeast.
  5. Educational/research institutions that partner with at least one Northeast dairy processor, as defined above. 

How to Apply

  1. Review the full Dairy Packaging Innovation Grant RFA (request for applications) for the complete details on eligible projects/applicants.
  2. Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days).
  3. Complete your pre-application in WebGrants using our Application Guide. Pre-application period: June 29 - August 24, 2023 at 2:00 pm ET
  4. For those applicants invited to submit a full application, the application deadline will be in November 2023.

Have a Question about this Grant?

Contact Kathryn Donovan.

Northeast DBIC Staff

Laura Ginsburg, Center Lead
(802) 522-2252 

Kathryn Donovan, Regional Programs Manager
(802) 585-4571

Ben Eldredge, Grants Coordinator
(802) 522-9478

Ali Boochever, Grants Coordinator
(802) 261-5740

Katie Spring, Outreach & Content Specialist
(802) 522-3186

Stay Connected

Funding for the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grants AM190100XXXXG081, AM200100XXXXG003, 21DBIVT1004-00, and AM21DBIVT1011-00. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.