The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) engaged Karen Karp & Partners (KK&P)—a food systems and economic development consultancy with deep experience working throughout the Northeast and in the dairy sector—to engage small-scale dairy farmers in southern Vermont and central-western Massachusetts who might be interested supplying raw milk directly to specialty cheesemakers in order to understand the specific conditions under which they would be able to engage in these types of localized and direct business relationships, and to diversify and strengthen their array of income streams outside of commodity milk markets in the process. NE-DBIC additionally tasked KK&P with interviewing cohorts of specialty cheesemakers and interested dairy farmers within the identified study region in order to set the stage for NE-DBIC to tangibly and expeditiously connect suitable and interested dairy producers directly to specific specialty cheesemakers.
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces the availability of funds through the Dairy Marketing and Branding Services Grant Program, which will provide grants for established value-added dairy processors and producer associations to access professional marketing and branding services to elevate value-added dairy businesses. Projects funded by this grant will increase the exposure and promotion of regionally produced dairy products guided by marketing/branding professionals. Funded projects will increase consumer awareness of products, develop market channels and distribution opportunities to increase product placement, support innovative strategies to increase consumption, and/or increase business revenues. Additionally, up to 25% of the grant funds may be used to implement the strategy and/or content developed by the contractor. Grants are available to applicants in all Northeast states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
In 2020, Act 129 changed the definition of “local” to better define Vermont foods. In order to qualify as a local product under the Vermont Agency of Education's Local Foods Incentive program, the product must meet one of the definitions for local outlined in this document.