New Grants Available to Support Dairy Entrepreneurship

From the Illinois Department of Agriculture:

The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) is a newly announced program that will provide Midwestern dairy farmers and dairy-related businesses with financial and technical support. This initiative, a joint effort coordinated by the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), was designed to support and promote the diversification and addition of value-added products to the Midwest dairy industry.

Goals of this program include:
• Increasing on-farm diversification
• Creating value-added dairy products such as specialty cheeses
• Focusing on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products

“We want to allow dairy farmers and processors to be innovative for their futures. We hope to improve the situations on dairy farms, processing plants, and cooperatives,” said DBIA Program Director Karen Nielsen.

Grant applications are available on the DBIA website. The grant application period is now open. Funds totaling $220,000 will be disbursed and awarded with individual projects receiving up to $20,000. The deadline to complete and return applications is August 14th. Selected producers and business owners will be notified on September 4th. DBIA is also coordinating online webinars and compiling resources for dairy producers and processors.

Nielsen noted that a grant proposal is currently being written to the United States Department of Agriculture for funding for subsequent years. Future plans for the program include expanding the resources available to dairy producers and processors and learning more about U.S. consumers’ dairy product buying preferences.

For more information, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture at (217) 524-9129, visit our website at or call the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance at (608) 265-1491 or visit their website at