USDA Announces $12 Million in Grant Funding Available to Support Dairy Initiatives

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - 11:30am
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WASHINGTON, June 25, 2024 -The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $12 million in grant funding is available to support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance services to producers through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI). The funds will be awarded noncompetitively to the DBI Initiatives at the California State University Fresno; the University of Tennessee; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets; and the University of Wisconsin. Through the Request for Applications (RFA), the initiatives will have an opportunity to submit proposals for this year’s funding.

Today’s announcement was made in Brodhead, Wis., by USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt, who was joined by Randy Romanski, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Under Secretary Moffitt highlighted the importance of the initiatives and their contributions to the U.S. dairy industry.

“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives utilize a unique approach of providing both technical assistance and subawards to small and mid-sized dairy businesses,” said Under Secretary Moffitt. “Through this, the businesses are able to diversify markets and income, develop higher value uses for their milk products, and achieve higher returns.”

Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives provide valuable technical assistance and subgrants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, supporting 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. Since its inception in 2019, the initiatives have invested over $64 million and awarded over 600 subrecipients in 40 states to provide valuable support to dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.

Dairy farmers and businesses interested in the program must contact the appropriate initiative to be considered for direct technical assistance or a subaward. AMS encourages applications to identify activities that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, low-income, and minority individuals, and underserved communities. AMS also encourages partnerships with minority-serving institutions of higher education. For projects intending to serve these entities, applicants should engage and involve those beneficiaries when developing projects and applications.

Application Information

The Request for Applications (RFA), information about grant eligibility, and a list of previously funded projects are available on the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives webpage. Applications must be submitted electronically through by 11:59 p.m. ET on August 27, 2024. 

USDA promotes climate-resilient landscapes and rural economic systems, including tools to support agriculture, forests, grazing lands, and rural communities. AMS encourages applicants to consider including goals and activities related to reducing and stabilizing the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or adapting to the already occurring climate change in their project’s design and implementation. 

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