USA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is injecting an additional US$80 million into the dairy industry in an effort to build capacity and enhance long-term resilience of the sector.   

The funds are being channeled into the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives to support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products.   

Launched in 2019, DBI Initiatives provide direct technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses, including niche dairy products, such as specialty cheese. 

Dairy products derived from the milk of a dairy animal, including cow, sheep and goat milk are also eligible for support. 

 In November 2021, DBI awarded US$18.4 million to three current Initiatives at the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency for Food and Marketing and University of Wisconsin. 

A new initiative at California State University Fresno also received support worth US$1.8 million, according to a USDA statement.  

Under the existing DBI program, each Initiative will now have the opportunity to submit additional proposals for up to US$20 million in American Rescue Plan funds. 

The funds will be used to further support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance to producers. 

“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have supported regional-focused efforts tailored to the needs of dairy farmers and businesses locally,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. 

“This additional funding will expand the capacity of the four initiatives to provide technical assistance and sub-grants exponentially.” 

Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions. 

It has also assisted dairy farmers 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 ARP funding, AMS plans to announce a new DBI Request for Applications later in FY22 contingent upon appropriations. 

Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA has had a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, and fairer markets for all producers. 

Apart from Dairy, the Biden-Harris Administration also has an action plan to create a “fairer, more competitive, and more resilient meat and poultry supply chain.”  

The administration has already dedicated US$1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds “to boost competition in the meat and poultry processing sector, and support workers in the independent processor industry.” 

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