Dairy product manufacturers in five Midwestern states may prepare now to apply for a new $1 million round of grants to be administered by the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA). This grant program is targeted to help dairy businesses develop an idea or tackle a challenge with the potential to advance the dairy industry as a whole, the organizations said.

Reimbursable grants of up to $250,000 each will be awarded through a competitive review process. Grant recipients will be required to share results of their project, WCMA and CDR said.

“Bold innovation is key to the advancement of the dairy industry,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of Madison, Wis.-based WCMA. “These grants help entrepreneurs maximize the impact of their efforts and move the industry forward by sharing what they’ve learned.”

The Dairy Industry Impact grant competition opens July 11, 2022, when applications will be available on the DBIA website. Applicants must be located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin, the organizations said. Initial abstracts will be due Aug. 31, 2022. Successful applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by Nov. 3, 2022. Companies interested in applying in July should contact Vic Grassman at vgrassman@cdr.wisc.edu or Tom Guerin at tguerin@cdr.wisc.edu.

“We are excited to see new ideas that could have a broader reach than just a single company and ultimately benefit a group of businesses, a region, or an entire sector of the industry,” added John Lucey, director of Madison, Wis.-based CDR.

The DBIA is supported by funding from USDA and was created in the 2018 federal farm bill. Since then, the DBIA has administered over $3.7 million in 79 grants to dairy farms and businesses in all five participating Midwestern states. The program also offers technical assistance to dairy farmers and processors in the region, WCMA and CDR said.