Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Kansas City, Kan., said applications are now being accepted for the 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator program, which will begin in April and run through June 2022. The program, now in its sixth year, is designed to foster relationships with startup companies and help advance innovative solutions in the areas of ag-tech and dairy food products.

“At DFA, our mission is to deliver value to our family farm-owners. This program is one way that we’re investing in new opportunities for the industry and helping drive innovation on the farm and in the dairy case,” said Doug Dresslaer, director of innovation at DFA. “What’s particularly exciting with our program is that we continue to work with many of our past participants, which is the end goal to really develop long-term relationships.”

For the 2022 program, DFA’s CoLAB Accelerator is looking for ag-tech companies with applications or technologies related to any portion of the dairy value chain, including but not limited to animal health, farm data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, farm labor and sustainability. Some ag-tech categories of particular interest, DFA said, include antibiotic alternatives, renewable or alternative energy methods, farm labor solutions, food waste technologies, automation and robotics, on-farm connectivity, animal identification and monitoring and animal transport technologies to name a few.

On the food front, the farmer-owned cooperative said it is seeking early-stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based, including products using milk, cheese, butter, whey or other dairy-based ingredients. Companies developing innovative processing or manufacturing technologies for dairy products, including sustainable packaging, will also be considered.

DFA said the program includes:

  • A 90-day immersive program, with both in-person and virtual training from April to June 2022.
  • Access to top executives at DFA, with each startup having a senior-level DFA contact relevant to their business area.
  • Educational sessions on a variety of topics important for startup growth, including finance, business development, distribution and supply chain, product development, brand building, sales and marketing, packaging and pricing.
  • Additional workshops that focus on areas such as leadership development, team building and company culture creation.

The program application is available here. For additional information about DFA’s CoLAB Accelerator program, visit colab.dfamilk.com.