The 5th round of USDA funding will support resilience across the Northeast dairy sector
October 5, 2023 | Montpelier, VT – The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) has been awarded $7,053,333 by the USDA to continue their support of and investment in regional dairy resiliency.
NE-DBIC is one of four national Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) established in the 2018 Farm Bill. Hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, NE-DBIC offers grants to dairy farmers, processors, and technical service providers across 11 Northeast states including: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
To date, NE-DBIC has awarded more than 210 grants totaling over $11.18 million directly to dairy businesses. This new $7 million will allow NE-DBIC to continue its direct support of dairy farmers and processors across the region, with a focus on dairy farm modernization, marketing and branding, processor and packaging innovation, and investment in supply chain resources, along with research on dairy’s economic impact in New England.
On announcement of the funding, U.S. Senator Welch of Vermont said: “I’m pleased the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center will be able to provide more much-needed funding to dairy farmers and processors. The NE-DBIC has lived up to its name, supporting innovations in the development, marketing and production of Vermont’s world-class dairy products and assisting farmers in making improvements on their farms. This latest round of funding will continue that work, benefitting farmers in our state and across the Northeast.” Vermont’s congressional delegation issued a joint release applauding the funding.
Across the region, state agency leaders voiced support for the NE-DBIC:
In Massachusetts, MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randall said: “The funding provided to the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center uplifts our region’s dairy industry at an important time. Dairy farmers play a critical role in the Northeast region’s agricultural economy, food system resiliency, and act as stewards of a vast percentage of farmland. Supporting dairy farmers through infrastructure upgrades and workforce development will have a cascading positive impact on our region’s overall agricultural economy and sustainability.”
In New York, Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said: “We thank the USDA and the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center for their continued partnership and for the financial assistance that this program has provided to our dairy industry in New York State. The dairy community continues to face some unprecedented challenges, making it more vital than ever that these critical programs are available to help our industry grow, diversify, and remain sustainable in the future.”
In Vermont, at the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets where the NE-DBIC is based, Secretary Anson Tebbetts said: “These investments in dairy are working across Vermont and the Northeast. Having these dollars available for farmers and processors means they can adapt, innovate, and connect with consumers. We are grateful for the support from USDA, our delegation in Washington and our region’s policy makers for their on-going support of this important program.”
Speaking on the impact of NE-DBIC Grants, Jacki Martinez Perkins of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association said, “For many farmers, NE-DBIC grants have been a crucial lifeline, providing technical assistance, funding infrastructure improvements that enabled access to new markets, support to help maintain their certification compliance, and the financial backing needed to pursue innovations critical to the success of their businesses that may have otherwise been out of reach.”
“Having access to a regional resource like NE-DBIC has been a game changer for us,” said Jayne Sebright, Executive Director of the Center for Dairy Excellence in Pennsylvania. “By working with NE-DBIC, the Center for Dairy Excellence has been able to extend our resources to farms outside of Pennsylvania and even more farms in the Commonwealth.”
This $7 million represents the final round of funding from the 2018 Farm Bill. The upcoming 2023 Farm Bill will determine how and if the DBII continue forward in our work to increase dairy resiliency across the region.
To learn more about NE-DBIC visit nedairyinnovation.com/impact
All DBII centers were awarded a fifth round of funding. Read the USDA-AMS press release for more details.