MADISON, WIS. – The service area for the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) is set to expand, after the US Department of Agriculture directed $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to supplement the DBIA’s work.

While the program at present covers the states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the new funding makes it possible for the DBIA to extend its reach to include Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio, as well.

The USDA also announced plans to make available in its 2022 fiscal year $22.9 million in agency appropriations for the DBIA and other innovation centers.

Dairy businesses operating within the DBIA’s new 11-state coverage area will see more grant funds become available through the DBIA, too. The Dairy Business Builder grant program will now award successful applicants up to $100,000 each and the Dairy Industry Impact grant will fund as much as $500,000 per award.

“We are thrilled to build on the impact of the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, strengthening dairy farms and processors and rural communities,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA executive director. “Our sincere thanks go to the Biden Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and [US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)] for their recognition of the program’s stewardship and effectiveness, and for this historic supplemental investment.”

What’s more, ARPA money will go toward launching new dairy research projects at the Center for Dairy Research, as well as a new mentorship program for cheesemakers that is designed to bolster entrepreneurship within the dairy industry.

“This critical investment in dairy innovation allows us to expand our DBIA grants and support programs to 11 Midwest states that produce over a third of all US milk production,” said John Lucey, CDR director. “This funding also provides key investments in critical research and emerging opportunities, such as biofermentation of dairy residues, and we thank the US Department of Agriculture and Senator Baldwin for their ongoing support of this essential program.”

Since the DBIA – a partnership between the CDR and WCMA – was formed in 2018, it has funded more than $3.7 million in grant money to dairy farms and businesses, while also providing technical assistance to dairy farmers and processors.