Grants & Financial Resources
The profitability, sustainability, and long-term viability of the dairy industry is fundamental to a healthy economy. WCMA is committed to advocating for targeted investments in dairy farmers and processors, working with state and federal partners to administer grant monies effectively, and sharing available funding opportunities with WCMA members. This page will be continually updated as new grant opportunities and deadlines arise.
Questions can be directed to WCMA Grants & Business Programs Director Danica Nilsestuen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 673-5547.
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP)
Dairy Processor Grants
The Dairy Processor Grants foster innovation, improve profitability and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities. Eligible applicants must operate a licensed dairy processing plant in Wisconsinn engaged in pasteurizing, processing or manufacturing milk or dairy products. Recipients are chosen through a competitive process. A total grant up to $50,000 is available per dairy processor per year. The dairy processor is required to provide a match of at least 20 percent of the grant amount. Grant applications are customized by each processor and can be used to hire consultants to address a wide range of business needs including food safety, staff training or modernization.
Awards: Up to $50,000 each
Current application period: Applications Due October 13th.
Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin
Launched in 2008, the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin competitive grant program is designed to strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural and food industries by working to reduce the marketing, distribution, and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin’s food products to local purchasers. A total of $300,000 is available in grant funding through the program; the maximum award for each project is $50,000, and grant applicants must provide a cash or in-kind match of at least 50 percent of the total project budget. Generally, qualified applicants include individuals, groups or businesses involved in Wisconsin production agriculture, food processing, food distribution, food warehousing, retail food establishments or agricultural tourism operations. Proposals can include individual projects, collaborations or partnerships.
Awards: Up to $50,000 each
Current application period: Closed March 31, 5:00 p.m.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, the DBIA is a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Center for Dairy Research, serving dairy farmers and dairy processors in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. DBIA offers two reimbursement grant programs:
Dairy Business Builder Grants
Dairy Business Builder Grants are designed for small to medium dairy businesses. Eligible projects diversify on-farm activity, create value-added products, enhance dairy by-products, or boost export programs.
Awards: Up to $100,000 each
Frequency: Twice per year
Current application period: Materials available August 21; applications due October 18 at 5:00 pm CT
Dairy Industry Impact Grants
Dairy Industry Impact Grants are geared toward dairy product manufacturers that want help developing an innovative idea or tackling a challenge with the potential to advance the dairy industry. In 2023, applications must focus on exporting dairy products.
Awards: Up to $100,000 each
Next application period: Materials available August 21; applications due October 18 at 5:00 pm CT
Click below to hear firsthand experiences from DBIA grant recipients on ways the program has delivered meaningful growth for their businesses!
These initiatives support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products. Located across the country, the DBII provide direct technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses, including niche dairy products, such as specialty cheese, or dairy products derived from the milk of a dairy animal, including cow, sheep and goat milk. Dairy processors across the country can access DBII funds via four regional initiatives:
Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) (see above)
Eligible states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Eligible states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
Eligible states: California, Oregon, and Washington
Eligible states: Tennessee
This program helps agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income.This may include dairy cooperatives or dairy businesses that have or utilize a farm in their operations.
Awards: Up to $75,000 each for Planning Grants; up to $250,000 each for Working Capital Grants. A 100 percent match is required.
Current application deadline: Closed May 11, 2023 for electronic applications; May 16, 2023 for paper applications.
This program aims to support technical assistance projects including feasibility studies, network designs, and the development of broadband financial assistance applications.
Awards: Varies by applicant type; total of $20 million available.
Current application deadline: 11:59 p.m. (ET) June 20, 2023
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA)
Dairy Export Consultation Program
Supported by funding from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP), WCMA offers free consultative services with MCT Dairies, Inc. to dairy processors interested in launching or expanding their export endeavors.
Awards: Up to 30 hours of no-cost consultative services
Current application deadline: Rolling basis through May 2024
Dairy exporters utilizing these free consultation hours are also eligible for up to $15,000 each to support certain activities associated with strengthening their presence in international markets:
- Social media and marketing campaigns
- Shipping and logistics costs for buyer samples
- Costs related to in-store demonstrations, retail sampling, and merchandising
Collaborative Market Access Grants (CMAG)
Using funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, WCMA's Collaborative Market Access Grants (CMAG) offer new and experienced Wisconsin dairy exporters funding to grow their global market presence. Awards may be used for the following trade show expenses:
- Registration and booth expenses for an international trade show/exhibit
- Registration for international conferences/meetings where the company is presenting and having business meetings to increase its international exports
- Shipping charges to and from the show for booth, display, samples, literature and/or equipment
- In-country interpreter services during an approved trip
- Costs associated with foreign-language translation of brochures and supporting materials at a trade show
- Design services, printing, marketing and advertising associated with trade show participation
Applicants are not required to be members of WCMA.
CMAG recipients will be allowed to use CMAG funds to participate in the following industry trade shows held in 2023:
- Gulfood, February 20-24
- SIAL America, March 28-30
- Food&HotelAsia, April 25-28
- SIAL Canada, May 9-11
- Food & Hospitality China, May 10-12
- Anuga, October 7-11
- Food&HotelVietnam, November 21-23
Awards: Up to $15,000 each. A 30 percent match is required.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
International Market Access Grants (IMAG)
Through the International Market Access Grants, Wisconsin companies can be reimbursed for specific expenses associated with an export project that will help to grow their presence in an international market. This may include trade show attendance, marketing and promotion, export education, and/or consulting services.
Awards: Up to $25,000 with a limit of six awards for graduates of the ExporTech™ program; up to $10,000 with a limit of three awards for all other eligible applicants
Frequency: Rolling basis. Companies are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after July 1 of each year.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
Wisconsin Fast Forward: Industry Sectors Worker Training Grants
The Industry Sectors Worker Training Grants through the Wisconsin Fast Forward program award funds to businesses from all Wisconsin industry sectors that reimburse the costs of customized occupational training for unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers. The customized, business-driven training will qualify workers for full-time employment, higher level employment, or increased wages. Approximately $2 million in total funding is available. Cash or in-kind match equal to 50% of the amount of the grant award is required.
Awards: $5,000-$40,000 each
Current application period: Closed on February 28, 2023