Wisconsin eligible for $20 million in additional funding through American Rescue Plan funds
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, is applauding an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of an additional investment of $80 million in the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives through American Rescue Plan funds. Senator Baldwin authored the bill creating the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative program, successfully shepherding its passage in 2018.
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance led by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will receive $20 million.
“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. “As our dairy economy faces supply chain challenges, this federal funding from USDA for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives will help Wisconsin dairy businesses to address those challenges, grow their business, modernize their dairy plants and reach new markets. It’s critical that farmers, cheesemakers, and dairy processors have tools to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward. I’m thankful that President Biden and Secretary Vilsack are committed partners in supporting Wisconsin’s dairy economy and rural communities.”
“This is a historic investment in dairy businesses, and so vital at a time of trade volatility, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions challenging dairy farm and dairy processor businesses,” said John Umhoefer, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Executive Director. “It demonstrates the firm commitment of the Biden Administration, Secretary Vilsack, and Senator Baldwin to stabilize and strengthen the U.S. dairy industry in ways that will enable us to meet the demands of a growing international marketplace.”
In November 2021, DBI awarded $18.4 million to three current Initiatives at University of Wisconsin, University of Tennessee, and Vermont Agency for Food and Marketing, and $1.8 million to a new initiative at California State University Fresno. Under the existing DBI program, which was previously announced through a FY21 Request for Applications (RFA), each Initiative will now have the opportunity to submit additional proposals for up to $20 million in American Rescue Plan funds to further support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and investments in supply chain resiliency. Baldwin voted for the American Rescue Plan last year.
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 U.S. food and agricultural products market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and Congressionally 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.
“This added investment in DBII will support the creation of higher-wage, family-supporting jobs and help strengthen rural communities,” said Umhoefer. “We are grateful for the opportunity to expand the impact of the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, and for Sen. Baldwin’s leadership to create and sustain our program.”