Catalytic Funding for New or Used Equipment Purchases to Help Dairy Processors Evolve Operations and Adopt More Sustainable Practices

FRESNO, CA, December 4, 2023 — Dairy processors along the Pacific Coast are receiving a catalytic investment that will strengthen the industry’s resilience. The Pacific Coast Coalition – Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (PCC-DBII), hosted by California State University, Fresno, has awarded $521,764 in grant funding to 12 dairy companies in California, Oregon and Washington. Each awardee is receiving up to $50,000, dependent on their submitted budget. These awards are all for equipment-related investments.

Grouped by state, here are the grant awardees:

California

Foggy Bottoms Boys (Ferndale); Nicasio Valley Cheese (Nicasio); Petit Pot (Emeryville); Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. (Point Reyes); Shooting Star Creamery (Paso Robles); Stepladder Creamery (Cambria); Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery (Valley Ford)

Oregon

Nico’s Ice Cream (Portland); Rising Sun Dairy (Turner); Rose Valley Creamery (Tillamook); Ruby Jewel Company (Portland)

Washington

Chimacum Valley Dairy (Chimacum)

“The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have made significant impacts to the dairy industry and the agricultural economy as a whole,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “This funding will allow the Pacific Coast Coalition – Dairy Business Innovation Initiative to continue to develop critical relationships with California, Oregon and Washington dairy producers and processors to support their on-the-ground needs.”

“Those selected for awards range from 98-year old multi-generational legacies looking to diversify their line, to 2-year-old BIPOC-owned start-ups with their sights on the nation’s biggest grocery stores. Not only will these grants help businesses optimize their processes and innovate their products, but the West Coast region is building a stronger dairy presence.” said PCC-DBII Project Director Carmen Licon Cano, Ph.D., “Each grant will result in time-saving equipment that develops new offerings, creates jobs and increases profitability.”

Grant winners intend to purchase items such as an ice cream machine, milk cooling transport tank, milk analyzer and homogenizer, pasteurizers and cheese cutting machines. These equipment purchases will:

  • Save time and energy
  • Create new value-added products to meet evolving consumer trends
  • Increase the operational efficiency of the cheese aging process
  • Allow for quick analysis of A2/A2 milk components
  • Optimize processes to spike production capacity
  • Broaden geographic scope of markets
  • Add new employment positions
  • Reduce waste and minimize environmental impact

“By investing in new and existing products, the PCC-DBII awarded grants facilitate entrepreneurship and increase the availability of innovative cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream products both regionally and nationally,” said Dr. Susan Pheasant, Director of the Institute for Food and Agriculture and “cowkeeper” for the PCC-DBII. “These grant winners are driving economic sustainability and growth through their high-quality dairy foods.”

“Washington state is known for producing a diverse portfolio of high-quality, safe agricultural products. Our dairies are an integral part of this success. I’m pleased Chimacum Valley Dairy is a Pacific Coast Coalition – Dairy Business Innovation Initiative grant recipient. The grant will create opportunities for them to not only continue producing top-tier products but also modernize their equipment to make their operation more efficient.” – Derek Sandison, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Recently receiving an additional $1.8 million to support the resilience and viability of the Pacific Coast’s dairy industry, the Pacific Coast Coalition – Dairy Business Innovation Initiative is funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and hosted by California State University, Fresno. The initiative is in collaboration with Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chapman University, Chico State, Oregon State University, Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, UC Davis, Washington State University, and the California Dairy Innovation Center. This is the third round of grant funding through the PCC-DBII. Via three rounds of funding, PCC-DBII has made nearly $5 million in grants from the USDA AMS available to regional dairy businesses for innovation-related investments, helping dairy processors evolve their operations and adopt more sustainable practices.

A larger funding opportunity, the fourth round of grant award by the PCC-DBII, will open on January 2, 2024, with at least $4.1M available for more states: Arizona; California; Nevada; New Mexico; Oregon; and, Washington. This fourth round of funding will include pandemic recovery (such as price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19), as the majority of those monies are derived from the federal CARES Act. Applications will be accepted January 2, 2024 – February 29, 2024. For more information: https://www.dairypcc.net/