USDA Invests $20.2M in Grants for Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives

WASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an investment of $20.2 million in the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives. DBI awarded $18.4 million to three current Initiatives at University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency for Food and Marketing and University of Wisconsin, and $1.8 million to the California State University Fresno.

Since its inception in 2019, DBI initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, assisting them with business plan development, marketing and branding, as well as, increasing access to innovative production and processing techniques to support the development of value-added products.

“These awards will expand the scope of the Dairy Business Innovation program and provide much-needed support to small dairy farms and businesses as they continue to recover from the pandemic,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “In addition to initiatives in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest, a new initiative for the Pacific Coast is funded, led by California State University Fresno. These DBI initiatives provide the dairy industry with additional capacity and expertise that will go beyond immediate assistance and set the stage for a more secure future.”

University of Tennessee – The University of Tennessee’s Center for Profitable Agriculture provides educational opportunities to help producers starting or expanding a dairy business in the Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) to manage financial risk by evaluating opportunities to develop and market value-added dairy products.

University of Wisconsin – The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, a partnership between the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, works with regional collaborators across five Midwest states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois) to provide expertise, resources and insights to support dairy business innovation.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets – The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiative focuses on three strategic development areas: direct assistance to farmers, consumer engagement and value-added production and processing to states in the Northeast – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

California State University Fresno (NEW) – California State University Fresno will lead a collaborative effort leveraging existing dairy industry resources, including institutions of higher education; state dairy promotion programs; research organizations; and industry stakeholders to spur regional dairy innovation by assisting dairy businesses in developing higher value uses for their milk, diversifying their markets and income, and realizing increased returns. The Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Innovation Initiative will support dairy businesses in California, Washington, and Oregon.

AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural products market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and Congressionally funded grants. 

To learn more about AMS’s investments in enhancing and strengthening agricultural systems, visit

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit