USDA this week announced an investment of $20.2 million in its Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, awarding $18.4 million to three current efforts and $1.8 million to a new one at California State University-Fresno.

Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses, assisting with business plan development and marketing and branding, as well as increasing access to innovative production and processing techniques to support the development of value-added products.

“These DBI initiatives provide the dairy industry with additional capacity and expertise that will go beyond immediate assistance and set the stage for a more secure future,” Jenny Moffitt, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said in a press release.

Award recipients are:

• The University of Tennessee’s Center for Profitable Agriculture, which provides educational opportunities to help producers starting or expanding a dairy business in the Southeast to manage financial risk by evaluating opportunities to develop and market value-added dairy products.

• The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, a partnership between the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. The alliance works with regional collaborators across five Midwest states to provide expertise, resources and insights to support dairy business innovation.

• Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, which focuses on three strategic development areas: direct assistance to farmers, consumer engagement and value-added production and processing to states in the Northeast

• California State University-Fresno for the Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Innovation Initiative to spur regional dairy innovation by assisting dairy businesses in developing higher value uses for their milk, diversifying their markets and income and realizing increased returns.

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