The California Dairy Innovation Center (CDIC), the dairy innovation partner to the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), has announced the availability of first round of grants through Pacific Coast Coalition’s Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (DBII). Producers and processors can apply through August 30th for a maximum of $50,000 per application for initiatives supporting dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.
Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, DBII program funded initiatives focus on product, process and packaging innovation and serve to:
- Diversify dairy product markets to reduce risk and develop higher value uses for dairy products,
- Promote business development that diversifies farmer income through processing and marketing innovation, and
- Encourage the use of regional milk production.
The grants are the first in the $1.8 million DBII award from the USDA that created the Pacific Coast Coalition to support dairy businesses in California, Oregon and Washington in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.
John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board said, “These grants offer a tremendous opportunity for producers and processors to think outside the box to prepare and launch bold innovation-focused projects that can have a transformative impact on our industry. And we’re just getting started. This is just the first set of grants and will be complimented with additional opportunities in the near future.”
Grants are available to anyone operating a dairy farm or dairy processing plant in California but focus on product, process, packaging innovation for dairy manufacturing. This includes feasibility studies and workforce training. Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives must focus on one or more of the following areas:
- Developing new dairy value-added products, including among others, culturally diverse and ethnic value-added dairy products to meet evolving consumer trends in the region.
- Adapting current dairy products and creating new value-added products to meet evolving consumer “wants,” to meet both domestic and export demand trends.
- Developing new product lines and expanding the dairy product portfolio to meet domestic and/or export demand for fresh milk and milk products.
- Expanding milk usage beyond food and drink, for example packaging/films, edible products for companion animals, cosmetics, and other high-value segments. Note: Dairy producer(s) and/or processor(s) may need to partner with non-dairy entity(ies) to address this goal.
- Adding value to milk by increasing its intrinsic value through differentiation production system/feed additives for nutritional enhancement, and fractionation of components.
- Increasing the profitability of the sector through adoption of alternative processing technologies for value-added dairy products, optimization, and/or recovery of high-value co-streams.
- Creating future opportunities for value-added ingredients and nutritional powders, milk fat products, and specialty blends, and decreasing the dependence on commodity markets.
- Developing sustainability leadership through innovation in packaging, processing efficiencies, reduced losses/waste, and novel uses of co-products (net-zero dairy processing plants). Note: Dairy producer and/or processor applicant(s) may need to partner with non-dairy entity(ies) to address this goal).
Proposals can include requests for funding for qualified equipment, feasibility studies, innovation in packaging as well as training of the workforce.1 This is a reimbursement program with applicants reimbursed upon presentation of invoices/receipts for approved projects. Grants are available to applicants throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.
Applications must be submitted by 12:00 noon on August 30, 2022. The Request for Applications document is available online here at: Application Materials – Google Drive and includes all required forms and templates. Additional questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The CDIC is a partner of the Pacific Coast Coalition/Fresno State and serves as advisor in the grants review process. CDIC, and its Steering Committee, also guides and support the implementation of DBII programs that deliver hands-on technical assistance to dairy businesses, provide access to pilot plant and lab space/ equipment for product trials and innovation, offer practical training, fund research, and communicate innovation opportunities. Collaborators of the Fresno State-hosted DBII include Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Humboldt, UC Davis, and Oregon State. The Pacific Coast Coalition is led by host California State University, Fresno and implements programs in partnership with CDIC and its collaborators.
The USDA Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiative supports dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products. DBI Initiatives provide direct technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses, including niche dairy products, such as specialty cheese, or dairy products derived from the milk of a dairy animal, including cow, sheep, and goat milk.
California leads the nation in milk production and milk is the number one agricultural product in the state. California also is a leading exporter of dairy products. The Pacific Coast region is home to hundreds of dairy businesses that are well-positioned to serve the needs of growing markets in Asia and Latin America.
1Additional information on the (a) program and (b) allowable expenses is available at: (a) https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/dbi (b) https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/DBISpecificTermsandConditions.pdf
About the California Dairy Innovation Center
The California Dairy Innovation Center (CDIC) coordinates pre-competitive research and educational training in collaboration with industry, check-off programs, and research/academic institutions in support of a common set of innovation and productivity goals. The CDIC is guided by a Steering Committee that includes California Dairies Inc., California Dairy Research Foundation, California Milk Advisory Board, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Dairy Management Inc., Fresno State University, Hilmar Cheese, Leprino Foods, and UC Davis.