Dairy Leaders Push for Innovation Funding in FY25 Appropriations and Farm Bill Package

Posted By: Rebekah Sweeney Advocacy, WCMA News,

More than 200 dairy business leaders in 31 states are today calling on House leaders to fully fund Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) in 2025, and throughout the duration of the pending new Farm Bill.

In a public letter written by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and Organic Valley and directly shared with Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Andy Harris, chairs of the agricultural appropriations subcommittees, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Glenn Thompson, chairs of the agriculture committees, dairy leaders request $36 million in annual federal support for DBII. Administered by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the program provides resources to four regional initiatives headquartered in California, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Since their launch in 2018, the centers have offered $165 million in research and market analysis, and direct-to-business grants for dairy farmers and processors.

“Targeted investments in new value-added dairy product development, export endeavors, and on-farm diversification help to ensure stability in the food supply chain now and in the future,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA Senior Director of Programs & Policy. “We’re grateful to Senators Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman, together with long-time program champion Senator Tammy Baldwin, for including full funding in the Senate Farm Bill proposal, and we are now calling on House leadership to join them in this push to support dairy businesses.”

“The dairy industry remains under pressure, facing market disruptions, supply chain and labor concerns, and biosecurity threats. The resources DBII offers both farmers and processors opportunity to innovate and modernize amid those challenges, creating more stable, more resilient businesses,” said Adam Warthesen, Organic Valley Director of Government & Industry Affairs. “Since the program was first launched, we’ve seen both inflation and increased demand for DBII dollars, and $36 million in annual federal funding will deliver the support needed now.”

A House Farm Bill proposal is expected in the coming days. Dairy businesses are still welcome to join WCMA and Organic Valley’s coordinated advocacy effort, with full details available now at WisCheeseMakers.org.