New Dairy Processor & Co-Packing Startup Grant 

Grant Overview

Processor Startup Grants will be available to dairy farmers looking to diversify by adding processing to their operation. Non-farm applicants are eligible to start up dairy processing businesses if they have established a business entity prior to applying and can demonstrate strong experience in dairy processing and value-added business start-up. Those who have started up dairy processing businesses after January 1, 2023 are eligible to apply. Grants will range from $15,000 to $75,000.  

Co-packer Startup Grants will be available to existing dairy processors only. Processors who have not previously co-packed will be eligible for funds to add co-packing capabilities to their current business. Processors that currently co-pack will be eligible for funds for activities that will add new co-packing partnerships, scale up existing co-packing relationships, or add additional co-packed product lines. Grants will range from $15,000 to $150,000.  

Funds may be used to purchase specialized dairy processing equipment and/or supplies, increase food safety, marketing and branding, market access, and/or product development.  

Applicants will be required to utilize technical assistance or training as a subset of their funds in their projects. Applicants are strongly encouraged to engage in technical assistance such as business planning, market research, or other relevant pre-work ahead of applying.   

Grants are available to applicants in all Northeast states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  

Eligibility

To be eligible for this grant, applicants must fall into at least one of the following categories: 

  1. For Processor Startup Grants:
    • Dairy farmer (producer) that:
      • is headquartered or based in the Northeast; and  
      • produces milk within the Northeast; and 
      • is a licensed dairy operation in compliance with all required state and/federal standards  
    • Non-farm applicants that have a business entity prior to applying and can demonstrate strong experience in dairy processing and value-added business start-up. Those who have started up dairy processing businesses after January 1, 2023 are eligible to apply. 
  2. For Co-Packer Startup Grants:
    • Existing dairy processor that currently transforms raw milk into an edible product and is licensed in a way that their product can be sold across state lines and:  
      • is headquartered or based in the Northeast; and  
      • sources or produces milk within the Northeast; and
      • if a value-added processor, manufactures products within the Northeast.  

How to Apply

  • Once it is released, review the full 2024 New Dairy Processor & Co-packing Start-up Grant RFA (request for applications) for the complete details on eligible projects/applicants and the application process. The RFA is expected to be released in Summer 2024. 
  • Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days).  
  • Once it is open, complete your application in WebGrants using our Application Guide. The application is expected to open in late summer 2024. 
  • Applicants who do not already have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through SAM.gov 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 the NE-DBIC Team.

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