MADISON, WIS. – The US Congress directed $23 million in federal funding to the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative as part of a federal omnibus spending package, with $7.67 million expected to benefit the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) in the Midwest.

The DBIA is a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and Center for Dairy Research (CDR). WCMA executive director John Umhoefer said the leaders of the association are excited about putting the investment to work, as he anticipates the money will strengthen dairy farms and processors, as well as rural communities throughout the Midwest.

“Our sincerest thanks go to the Biden Administration, including (Agriculture) Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Congressional leaders like Senator Tammy Baldwin for again championing support for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative,” Umhoefer said.

Added CDR director John Lucey: “This additional funding is an investment in the long-term success of the US dairy industry, providing critical research dollars and direct-to-business grants that support new export endeavors, the creation of value-added dairy products and the diversification of revenue streams for family-owned dairy farms.”

Funding from the US Department of Agriculture supports the DBIA, which was created in 2018 as part of the federal Farm Bill. Thus far, DBIA has administered more than $7 million in grants to 88 dairy farms and processors.

The DBIA’s service area expanded in 2022 to cover 11 states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Per the DBIA, the region represents 35% of the country’s milk production and 50% of its dairy farms.