MADISON, WI — The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today cheered news that U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) secured $22 million in support for Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) in the omnibus spending package approved by Congress late last night. The allocation represents a funding increase of $2 million over the previous year.
“Senator Baldwin first secured support for the creation of the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program in the 2018 Farm Bill, and she has fought for every dollar, every year since, to maximize its impact,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director. “We are deeply grateful for Sen. Baldwin’s focus on strengthening the dairy industry from farm to vat, and beyond.”
“Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy, but our dairy industry continues to face enormously challenging times during this global pandemic,” said Senator Baldwin. “It’s critical that farmers, cheesemakers and dairy processors have the tools to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward.”
WCMA, in partnership with the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leads one of three regional DBII centers. The WCMA/CDR project, called the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, provides direct-to-business grants to dairy farmers and processors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, and offers free workshops and consultative services to grow the dairy industry.
“Now more than ever, the dairy industry needs targeted investments to boost the creation and marketing of value-added dairy products,” said Umhoefer. “With additional federal support, we will to guide and support more projects to increase the profitability of family farms and the stability of the whole supply chain.”