MADISON, WIS. – Dairy farmers, manufacturers and processors in eleven Midwestern states can now apply to receive the most reimbursement funds ever offered through the Dairy Business Builder grant program.

Administered by the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, the grants for the current cycle offer as much as $100,000 to small- and medium-sized dairy businesses. In previous rounds, the grant program limited an entity’s funds to $50,000.

The application process, which has a Nov. 10 deadline, is open to dairy businesses within the DBIA service area, which now covers 11 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The DBIA is a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. 

The Dairy Business Builder grants are designed to help small- to medium-sized operations diversify on-farm activities, create value-added products, enhance dairy byproducts and create or enhance export programs.

“These awards are a great source of support for any Midwestern dairy entrepreneur looking to expand and improve their business,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of WCMA. “DBIA grant funding has already helped spur growth for dozens of dairy farmers and processors. We look forward to seeing a new round of fresh, innovative proposals this fall.”

Added John Lucey, director at CDR: "We have increased the size of these business builder grants to help dairy businesses and startups invest in significant growth strategies.”

Applications are available online through the CDR website, where applicants also can access a free webinar that provides tips on creating a strong proposal for the process. 

Funding from the US Department of Agriculture supports the DBIA, which was created in 2018 as part of the federal Farm Bill. Thus far, the DBIA, which also offers technical assistance, has been able to award more than $3.7 million in 81 grants to dairy farms and businesses.