$12.2M Infusion Bolsters Northeast Dairy Processing
Substantial Funding Is a Catalyst for Dairy Sector Resiliency
November 7, 2023| Montpelier, VT – Dairy processors across the Northeast are receiving a catalytic investment. The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announced today 35 businesses selected for awards through the Existing Dairy Processor Expansion Grant.
With total funding of $12,287,001 across eight states, individual awards range from $25,852 to $1million. Those selected for awards represent processors of all sizes: from farmstead creameries to multi-state businesses and co-ops.
This one-time infusion of funding is a direct result of the Northeast Dairy Taskforce, convened by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, at the request of USDA Secretary Vilsack. Charged to provide an actionable response to Danone/Horizon cutting milk contracts with Northeast dairy farmers, the regional taskforce recommended investing “catalytic levels of funding into existing successful track-record processors positioned to scale production quickly.”
The USDA subsequently awarded the NE-DBIC an additional $20 million to address the stability and viability of Northeast regional dairy. The Existing Dairy Processor Expansion Grant does just that, funding specialized equipment to help processors increase the use of regionally sourced milk and expand regional dairy processing capacity.
“USDA is proud to be a partner with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in their ongoing efforts to support the region’s dairy businesses through the Northeast Dairy Business Initiative,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “This funding will expand markets for dairy producers, ensure a steady supply of dairy products to consumers, and make significant contributions to the region’s economy.”
Over 3,200 dairy farmers will benefit from this processing expansion, stabilizing and expanding options for their milk and increasing the amount of local dairy on store shelves through the Northeast.
“Dairy delivers for Vermont and the Northeast. Our farmers are committed to producing a high-quality product, but they need support. These investments are great for our processors, farmers and consumers,” said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts. “By investing in new and existing products these grants will keep milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream in our stores, schools and homes. We are grateful for the support from USDA & Congress for this partnership.”
“Pennsylvania dairy farmers are the backbone of our state’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Most of our 5,000 dairy farms are small. But collectively, they pack a huge impact in innovation and industry leadership. These seven producers embody that tenacious, competitive spirit that makes Pennsylvania great, and we are pleased that the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center has chosen to support their expansion.”
Through a rigorous selection process, applicants were divided into three tiers based on production volume. Successful applicants in Tiers 1 and 2 went through two written applications, followed by a virtual presentation of their projects. Tier 3 applicants asking for over $150,000 also gave virtual presentations. Each application was reviewed by a minimum of three dairy sector experts from across the Northeast.
Selected recipients include processors in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
To view a full list of the selected recipients, visit: nedairyinnovation.com/processor-expansion-awards