US Sen. Baldwin: Joins US Dept. of Agriculture to announce $80 million investment in dairy business innovation initiatives

WATERLOO, WI – Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, joined the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jennifer Moffitt to announce that $80 million has been awarded to the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives through the American Rescue Plan. The funds are being awarded to the four current DBI Initiatives, including $20 million for Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, led by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Senator Baldwin voted for the American Rescue Plan in 2021. The announcement was made at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, a previous recipient of a grant from the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance during its first grant cycle in 2019.

Senator Baldwin authored the bill creating the DBI program, successfully shepherding its passage in 2018.

“Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy and with all the challenges they face, I’m working to do everything I can to help,” said Senator Baldwin, “This federal funding from USDA will help modernize Wisconsin dairy businesses, reach new markets, and create economic growth. The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives provide our farmers, cheesemakers, and dairy processors with the tools they need to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products. I’m thankful that President Biden and USDA are committed partners in supporting Wisconsin’s dairy economy and rural community.”

Baldwin, Undersecretary Moffitt, and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese representatives

The USDA is also announcing the availability of $22.9 million through a Request for Applications for funding provided by FY 2022 appropriations to support these same DBI Initiatives.

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. Separate from this supplemental American Rescue Plan funding, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) plans to announce a new DBI Request for Applications later in FY22 contingent upon appropriations.

AMS supports US food and agricultural products market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and Congressional funded grants. To learn more about AMS’s investments in enhancing and strengthening agricultural systems, visit www.ams.usda.gov/grants.

Since 2019, the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance has served dairy businesses in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, working to increase on-farm diversification, support the creation of new value-added dairy products, including specialty cheeses, and expand dairy export endeavors. For more information about the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, visit www.cdr.wisc.edu/dbia.

An online version of this release is available here.

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