WCMA Offers Additional Dairy Export Grants

Posted By: Grace Atherton Advocacy, WCMA News,

Additional grant funding is now available through the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) to help Wisconsin dairy exporters grow their international sales. Details and a simple, one-page application are available now at WisCheeseMakers.org/Grants. 

Successful applicants will be awarded reimbursement grants of up to $15,000 each on a first-come, first-served basis to strengthen their presence in international markets with: 

  • Social media and marketing campaigns
  • Shipping and logistics costs for buyer samples
  • Costs related to in-store demonstrations, retail sampling, and merchandising

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all spaces are filled. Applicants are not required to be members of WCMA.  

“Wisconsin’s dairy processors are poised and ready for exponential growth overseas. This investment will enable WCMA to continue to expand our broad array of resources to help Wisconsin’s dairy manufacturers share their story with more international consumers,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.  

Successful applicants who sign on to accept funding are required to take advantage of free dairy export consultative services through WCMA. These consulting hours, provided by MCT Dairies, offer customized coaching to help new and experienced exporters evaluate their product line and identify potential global customers, assist in creating and executing their export plan, evaluate and refine their export business model, and identify areas for improvement. 

In addition to financial support, WCMA will host two export workshops in 2023. The first workshop, planned for spring, will provide new and experienced dairy exporters with strategies and resources to make the most of their presence at international trade shows. In the fall, another workshop will focus on marketing and branding dairy products in foreign markets. Dates, speakers, and registration information for both workshops will be available at a later date at WisCheeseMakers.org. 

This second round of funds for WCMA’s Export Expansion program is provided by a new grant from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP). 

“We’re grateful to Governor Tony Evers, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, and Wisconsin’s legislative leaders for their strong support for our state’s dairy processing industry, and we’re pleased with the great work WDATCP is doing to make this state initiative a reality,” Umhoefer said. 

The new funding continues a dairy export expansion effort launched by WCMA in the fall of 2022, which has already offered an industry workshop and personalized consultative services for dairy processors including:  Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Emmi Roth, Marieke Gouda, Masters Gallery Foods, Red Barn Family Farms, Renard’s Cheese, and Sartori Company. 

This new funding from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports arrived shortly after the December launch of another WCMA export effort, funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Collaborative Market Access Grants (CMAG) program. CMAG awarded these Wisconsin dairy companies with funds to offset overseas trade show expenses: Carr Valley Cheese, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Masters Gallery Foods, Renard’s Cheese, and Sartori Company. 

Questions about the new round of grants may be directed to WCMA Grants & Business Programs Director Danica Nilsestuen at dnilsestuen@wischeesemakers.org or (608) 673-5547.