Innovation in Dairy Processing and Packaging Grant

Grant Overview 

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces the availability of funds through the Innovation in Dairy Processing and Packaging Grant program. This grant will provide funds for dairy processors, dairy producer associations, and educational research institutions to conduct research and development projects that support innovation for Northeast dairy processors across a variety of scales. Projects funded through this program will support dairy processors in gaining knowledge that will allow them to make informed, long-term business investments with positive environmental and/or economic impacts.  

Funded projects will be centered on developing alternatives to current industry standards through projects that are applicable, scalable, and replicable to other Northeast dairy processors. All projects will include an educational or information sharing component for other regional dairy processors. Projects should increase collaboration across the dairy sector to ensure the greatest number of businesses will benefit.

All projects must: 

  1. Demonstrate sustainability, scalability, and marketability at the forefront. 
  2. Demonstrate accessibility of packaging innovation, particularly for the scale of processors in the Northeast.
  3. Include an educational/knowledge sharing component for the industry. This does not exclude the ability for the grantee to acquire patent protections for technologies developed within this grant project. 
  4. Incorporate partnership across sectors (minimum of one dairy processor as a key partner, if applicant is not a dairy processor). 

Priority will go to projects that support modernized packaging initiatives that prioritize sustainability, scalability, and marketability of packaging solutions for small and mid-sized processors. Packaging projects may address topics such as packaging lifecycle analysis, costs of conversion, supply chain logistics, research and development, packaging design, processor packaging changeovers, infrastructure upgrades.  

Other projects may include innovation in sourcing, alternative production solutions, distribution and supply chain logistics, operations, and marketing.  

Projects focused on research, development, and analysis must contain outcomes that can be implemented or adopted, and the grantee must show commitment to resulting from research funding.  

Priority will go to projects that partner across the dairy and packaging manufacturing sector and those that can demonstrate how they will positively impact multiple dairy businesses and supply chain partners. 

The Northeast region, for the purposes of NE-DBIC programs, includes the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 

Grants will range from $75,000 to $350,000 with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required.   

Total funds available: $1,500,000.  


Applicants eligible for these funds must fall into at least one of the following categories: 

  1. A licensed dairy processor that currently meets each of the following requirements:  
    • transforms raw milk or dairy components into an edible product meant for human consumption
    • is licensed in a way that their dairy products can be sold across state lines
    • is headquartered or based in the Northeast
    • sources or produces milk or dairy components from within the Northeast
    • manufactures products within the Northeast
  2. Dairy producer association/dairy council which represents and promotes dairy products and dairy businesses of the Northeast. Grant projects submitted by dairy producer associations must directly benefit multiple dairy businesses to be eligible for this grant. 
  3. Packaging manufacturers that partner with at least one Northeast dairy processor, as defined above. 
  4. Supply chain businesses (distributors, aggregators, retailers, etc.) that partner with at least one dairy processor, as defined above. Applicant business must: 
    • be headquartered or based in the Northeast; and 
    • source dairy products within the Northeast; and 
    • purchase from and sell to businesses in the Northeast. 
  5. Educational research institutions that partner with at least one Northeast dairy processor, as defined above. 
  6. Technical service providers (e.g., university extension or viability organizations) are eligible to apply if: 
    • The group of dairy businesses they will work with is clearly defined in the application; and  
    • The businesses receiving services are located in the Northeast. 

How to Apply 

  • Once it is released, review the full 2024 Dairy Processing and Packaging Grant RFA (request for applications) for the complete details on eligible projects/applicants and the application process. Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days). The RFA is expected to be released in August 2024.  
  • Complete your application in WebGrants using our Application Guide. The application period is expected to be from August to October 2024
  • Applicants who do not already have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through are strongly encouraged to start this process during the application period to ensure a timely start to their grant, if awarded.  

Have a Question about this Grant? 

Contact Kathryn Donovan

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