Dairy Business Innovation Alliance 

About DBIA

The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), is a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and Center for Dairy Research (CDR), that brings together the diverse expertise needed to drive significant growth to dairy farmers and dairy processors across the Midwest in: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota.

DBIA provides direct technical assistance through low or no-cost workshops and award grants that meet the themes of improving on-farm diversification, creation of value-added products and increasing dairy exports.

DBIA resulted from the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that created the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (DBII) to assist dairy farmers and dairy processors in creating new revenue streams through increased farm diversification in new business strategies and the creation of “higher value” food and beverage products containing a dairy ingredient. In 2019, the USDA requested applications that resulted in the selection of three locations as regional hosts for this initiative:

  • DBIA, representing the upper Midwest states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota
  • Vermont, representing the far northeastern United States
  • Tennessee

Funding for Phase I of the Farm Bill (2018-2020) was released in late 2019, providing approximately $450,000 to each regional center. The award is divided into two categories, with 50% of the funds required to be given out as grants.


DBIA Webinar Series

The DBIA has initiated a series of “Let’s Get Started” webinars. These webinars will identify local resources, expertise and technical assistance to support dairy farmers and processors who have decided to move forward on diversifying their enterprise or developing a new product but are not sure on how to get started.

  • The focus of these eight webinars will be to identify the local resources, expertise and technical assistance that can help you develop and implement your ideas.
  • Webinars will be targeted at dairy farmers, processors and/or converters as they seek to diversify and/or create “high-value” dairy products or who are considering in getting into exporting.
  • The webinars will be a combination of general information presentations, breakout sessions and interviews with farmers and processors willing to share their experiences and lessons learned.
Here's a look at the upcoming webinar schedule:

Past recordings and Powerpoints of the webinar series can be accessed here.


DBIA Grants

DBIA announced in September 2020 the 13 companies and cooperatives which, via a competitive review process, have been selected to receive grants totaling $230,000. 2020 DBIA grant recipients, listed alphabetically by company name, are:

  • Bennett Valley Cheese, Gilmanton, Wisconsin
  • Carr Valley Cheese Company, La Valle, Wisconsin
  • Country View Dairy LLC, Hawkeye, Iowa
  • Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wisconsin
  • Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, Wisconsin
  • Farm Life Creamery LLC, Ethan, South Dakota
  • Marcoot Jersey Creamery, Greenville, Illinois
  • McCluskey Brothers, Hillpoint, Wisconsin
  • Metz's Hart-Land Creamery LLC, Rushford, Minnesota
  • Redhead Creamery LLC, Brooten, Minnesota
  • Royal Guernsey Creamery LLC, Columbus, Wisconsin
  • Taste and See Creamery, Boyceville, Wisconsin
  • Yodelay Yogurt, LLC, Madison, Wisconsin

In the next funding period, running through 2023, the DBIA will distribute over $3.4 million in grants to dairy farm and processing businesses, in potential increments between $5,000-$250,000. DBIA will also provide funding across market research, product development, training workshops, and consultative services to industry. Program support comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Current and future announcements regarding DBIA grants and trainings can be found online.


What’s Ahead

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in August 2020 that CDR and WCMA have been awarded $6.13 million to support continuation of the DBIA, serving Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In the next funding period, running through 2023, the DBIA will provide funding across market research, product development, training workshops, and consultative services to industry. In addition, the DBIA will also distribute over $3.4 million in grants to dairy farm and processing businesses, in potential increments between $5,000-$250,000. 

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) authored the bill creating the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative program, successfully shepherding its passage in 2018.  Baldwin helped secure initial funding for DBIA of $450,000 in 2019, and championed expanded funding this year, along with Congressmen Glenn Grothman (R-WI6), Ron Kind (D-WI3), Mark Pocan (D-WI2), Bryan Steil (R-WI1), and state department of agriculture officials.