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.
January 30, 2023 - WDATCP Dairy Processor Grant Applications Due
Business Development Resources
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP)
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: Closes January 30, 2023
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 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
Previous application period: Closed November 10, 2022
Next application period: Opens late winter 2023
- 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.
Awards: Up to $250,000 each
Previous application period: Closed August 31, 2022
Next application period: To be announced
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
International Export Resources
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA)
Supported by funding from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports, administered by 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
Frequency: Rolling basis through May 2024
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
Through the International Market Access Grant (IMAG), 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 $$$ each
Frequency: Rolling basis. Companies are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after July 1 of each year.
Workforce Development Resources
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
The Wisconsin Fast Forward grant program awards 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. A cash or in-kind match equal to 50% of the amount of the grant award is required.
Awards: $5,000-$40,000 each
Previous application period: Closed November 16, 2022
Next application period: To be announced