WCMA Cheers $12 Million in Funding for Dairy Innovation

Posted By: Grace Atherton Advocacy, WCMA News,

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement of $12 million in federal funding for four dairy innovation centers across the U.S., including the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) run by WCMA and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR). 

The announcement was made at Decatur Dairy, a WCMA member business led by Steve Stettler, a current member and former president of WCMA’s Board of Directors. The company received a DBIA grant in 2022 to support the expansion of its cheese plant and strengthen the local market for milk from the producers of the Decatur Swiss Cheese Co-op. 

“The DBIA is delivering real successes – and more than $16 million in grants so far – to dairy businesses across the Midwest,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “We appreciate USDA’s ongoing support, and we’re excited to continue this critical work with our partners at CDR." 

Since DBII was launched in the 2018 Farm Bill under the leadership of Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), it has directed $165 million in federal funding to support farmers and processors. 

“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives utilize a unique approach of providing both technical assistance and subawards to small and mid-sized dairy businesses,” said USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Through this, the businesses are able to diversify markets and income, develop higher value uses for their milk products, and achieve higher returns.” 

The new funding will be awarded noncompetitively to the four existing programs. The DBIA will be eligible for approximately $3 million to support product research and development, technical assistance, education, and grants to dairy businesses in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

As Congress debates appropriations for DBII for the next Farm Bill and fiscal year, dairy processors’ voices are urgently needed to advocate for continued funding for this essential program. WCMA urges dairy businesses to visit bit.ly/supportdairyinnovationfunding today to contact their lawmakers in just a few clicks using the Association’s simple form.