The Pacific Coast Coalition-Dairy Business Innovation Initiation (PCC-DBII) has been officially awarded another U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for just over $1.8 million, with nearly $1 million available for dairy business grants. This represents the fourth such award under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program. A PCC delegation was on hand at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI as USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt, announced $23 million in awards to support dairy businesses and producers nationwide. These initiatives support small and mid-sized dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.

Dairy farmers and processors in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona will be eligible to propose projects for funding to aid in dairy product development, production, marketing and distribution from January 2, 2024 through February 29, 2024.

Online resources to aid such efforts include: an Office Hours webinar (passcode: 05hH+nCr), FAQs, and “Office Hours” for drop-in questions via Zoom from 4 to 5pm PST. on Friday, Jan. 19 and Thursday, Feb. 8.

“This new funding award from the USDA allows us to continue the direct-to-dairy processing business grant program as well as build capacity in university creamery pilot plants in support of industry new product development and current/future employee training,” said Dr. Carmen Licon Cano, PCC-DBII project director and director of the Dairy Products Technology Center at Cal Poly SLO. “This brings the total dairy processing related grants to over $25.3 million in the past three years.”

The PCC-DBII is funded by an initial $1.8 million grant in November 2021, a $19 million follow-up grant announced in July 2022 via CARES Act Pandemic Recovery, a $1.7 million grant in October 2022, and a $1.8 million grant in October 2023. “Cowkeeper” and co-project director, Dr. Susan Pheasant, shares that portions of the funding will specifically go to Cal Poly – SLO, California Dairy Innovation Center, Oregon State University, and Washington State University to support the upskilling of workers, prepare students to enter the dairy processing workforce, hosting of a conference for university creamery managers, and increasing materials on the eLearning HUB offering open access educational materials and trainings.

Fresno State hosts the collaboration with eight other Western universities and the California Dairy Innovation Center. The program will also offer over hundreds of hours of industry training to foster innovation and best practices, often in bilingual forms for Spanish- peaking workers and entrepreneurs.

ONLINE APPLICATION (open January 2 – February 29, 2024):