By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
A $20 million grant from the United States Dairy Association Dairy will support industry expansion in the state.
The state’s Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets announced the grant, which will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act dollars, that will augment the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center in addition to milk producers in the state.
“These resources will help those who make their living off the land,” Gov. Phil Scott said in the release. “Dairy farmers are the backbone of our rural economy and these dollars will provide much needed support for our hard-working dairy farmers who are feeding us.”
According to the release, the state’s dairy producers can submit proposals that would enhance processing capacity, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance that are part of the $80 million Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives.
The state’s DBI program received an investment in November 2021, and the recent allocation of $20 million is “great news,” Anson Tebbetts, the state’s agriculture secretary said.
“These funds will help build more markets for family farms, improve dairy processing, create new dairy products and make it more affordable for farmers while growing their businesses,” Tebbetts said.
The initiative, which began in 2019, according to the release, has worked to provide technical assistance and grants to dairy farmers and businesses in the region. Assistance for business plans, marketing, and branding, in addition to new production and processing techniques, have supported dairy farmers.
Laura Ginsburg, the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center lead, said the funds come at a critical time for the region’s organic dairies.
“The additional funding provided by the USDA is a catalytic investment in our regional dairy system and will allow us to support farmers who have lost their market while also investing funds into the dairy supply chain,” Laura Ginsburg said in the release. She serves as lead at the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center.
“Using the forward thinking approach the NE-DBIC brings to all opportunities, we will work to ensure that we are not just solving the problems of the present moment but positioning our region for a stronger and more resilient future,” she said.