Montpelier, VT – The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces grant awards totaling $112,857 through the Multi-Business Agritourism Grant program. Six dairy farmers, processors, and organizations in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont will launch innovative agritourism projects through the NE-DBIC’s first competitive grant round. The projects funded are designed to raise awareness, understanding, and consumption of Northeast produced dairy products through agritourism activities that impact multiple dairy businesses.
- Sunflower Farm Creamery of Cumberland, ME will receive $10,000 to print and market their cookbook, “Simply Good Chevre: A delicious guide to all licensed goat dairy farms in Maine” that features goat cheese recipes and day trips including Beer & Goats.
- Jones Family Farm of Herkimer, NY will receive $15,000 to coordinate a marketing campaign in conjunction with the Central New York Cheese Trail and Little Falls Cheese Festival to promote events, increase sales, and educate the public.
- The Milk Pail at Willow Bend Farm of Shortsville, NY will utilize $22,000 in funds to market and promote monthly events including a Dairy Discovery 5k & Fun Run that will feature area dairy businesses.
- Pennsylvania Cheese Guild of Philadelphia, PA will receive $20,677 to develop a digital marketing campaign and promotional materials to support the first Pennsylvania Cheese Month event and the Pennsylvania Cheese Trail.
- Maple Bottom Farm of Scottdale, PA will use $24,685 to build upon agritourism events they created in response to the pandemic and will expand to include other area farms through a dairy trail map, farm-to-table dinners, Breakfast at the Farm event, and educational camps.
- Fat Toad Farm of Brookfield, VT will utilize $20,495 in funds to create and market a 3D interactive virtual tour experience featuring an area goat dairy farm and goat caramel production process.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard A. Ball said, “Agritourism is an essential part of connecting the dots between our farm community and new customers, providing tremendous educational and recreational benefits to those who are interested in learning more about the dairy industry and agriculture in general. I thank the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center for its partnership and investment in these important marketing, promotion, and education projects in New York State and all across the northeast.”
“Our northeast region dairy producers are incredibly important to our overall agricultural economy, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry celebrates each of the 2021 grant recipients,” said Commissioner Amanda Beal. “We also look forward to Sunflower Farm Creamery’s upcoming cookbook and congratulate them on their successful grant application.”
“Farm visits and cheese trails are a natural draw for travelers who want to enjoy our beautiful countryside and encounter the people and places behind the food on their tables,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Congratulations to the innovators at Maple Bottom Farms and Pennsylvania Cheese Guild for generating sustainable farm income by giving consumers what they want, and thank you to the center for supporting their innovation.”
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center provides support to dairy businesses in the Northeast region, serving ten states from Pennsylvania to Maine. The NE-DBIC promotes the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products through market research, technical assistance, and competitive grant rounds for dairy farmers and processors. The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center is funded through USDA and hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. To date, the NE-DBIC has received $6.59 million from the USDA-AMS Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, with another allocation expected in 2021. The Center is strongly supported by Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a leading member of the Agriculture Committee, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. The NE-DBIC will award at least half of the federal funding to dairy farmers and value-added processors throughout the Northeast region.
“On behalf of the NE-DBIC, I am excited to fund projects across the region that empower farmers to connect with consumers in new and engaging ways,” NE-DBIC Lead Laura Ginsburg said. “These grantees represent the diversity of farms that make our northeastern dairy sector so vibrant and we look forward to hearing about their successes.”
Upcoming grant programs will directly support dairy farmers and processors through marketing and branding services, supply chain, and food safety certification. Dairy businesses and producer associations are encouraged to explore upcoming funding rounds.