DATCP: Governor Doyle Announces $1.2 Million for Wisconsin Dairy Entrepreneurs

Robin Engel, Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, 608-224-5002

Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Second Round of Grants for Dairy Innovations Builds on First Year’s Successes

FORT ATKINSON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today $1.2 million in grant money available to dairy producers and processors as part of his “Grow Wisconsin” Initiative to reinvigorate dairy. This is the second round of grants under the Governor’s economic development plan. In August 2004, Governor Doyle announced $820,000 in dairy grants.

“Since the earliest days of our state, the dairy industry has been the foundation of our economy,” Governor Doyle said. “I am committed to building on the state’s dairy legacy by investing in producers across Wisconsin, helping them modernize and grow.”

Wisconsin is transitioning to grow its $20.6 billion dairy industry. Since its start-up in April 2004, the Dairy Business Innovation Center has provided technical and marketing assistance to 87 dairy businesses in starting or expanding a dairy plant, launching a new product, or entering a new market. During the period, the Grow Wisconsin Dairy Team has provided technical assistance to 227 dairy producers seeking to modernize their dairy operations and administered $634,450 to 77 dairy producers, processors, and local dairy development groups.

In our planning for our first year, we never anticipated the magnitude of responses we would receive from entrepreneurs seeking to grow artisan and specialty dairy businesses and from farmers seeking to modernize their operations, said Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. This second round of grants builds on that momentum.

The $1.2 million in grants will target the following areas:

Grants of up to $7,500 for dairy farmers to get started in business or for existing dairy farmers to transition to or enhance organic or intensively managed crazing operations. Cow, goat, or sheep operations may apply. Examples might include: professional services costs for grazing system and financial planning, engineering, and design of water drinking system, assistance with non-covered conservation planning costs.

Grants of up to $7,500 for dairy producers modernizing their dairy facilities. Funds will be available for consulting for risk management, financial management, and labor management, as well as financial management software and training used in conjunction with modernization, expansion, or efficiency projects. Funds may also be used for professional services related to siting, engineering, design, and layout of new barns, parlors, and other farm structures related to new modernization and expansion projects.

Grants of up to $50,000 for dairy businesses introducing new dairy products, entering new markets, or implementing innovations in their supply chain. Examples of types of projects might include launching a new product or product line, entering a new or differentiated market for Wisconsin, or developing a system for reducing costs within the business supply chain.

Grants of up to $25,000 for local organizations proposing to improve business competitiveness of dairy farming in their area through unique, innovative projects. Examples might include: creation of agricultural development zones that promote dairy farm development, creation of new systems to provide capital for dairy modernization, programs to match cash crop farms with dairy farms to enhance farm incomes.

Grants for commodity processors to undertake major initiatives that add value or cut costs in their businesses. Funds will be available for projects involving collaboration between processors and dairy farmers that promote supply chain value. Examples of types of projects might include reducing hauling or distribution costs, meeting a major new long-term customer demand, or making a major new facility investment or joint venture.

Producers and processors should visit www.GrowWisconsinDairy.org to learn more and to download grant applications or contact Jim Cisler, DATCP, 608-224-5137.

The $1.2 million in grant money is part of the Wisconsin Value Added Dairy Initiative to reinvigorate dairy in Wisconsin. It is funded by $2.4 million of federal money matched by in-kind contributions of agencies and organizations within Wisconsin’s dairy sector.

Governor Doyle thanked Senator Herb Kohl and Representative Dave Obey for their leadership in securing federal funding in support of the dairy industry. The Dairy Business Innovation Center and the Grow Wisconsin Dairy Team are key components of the VADI initiative.