July 23 2021 11:39 AM

Access and Size of Dairy Business Innovation Grants to be Expanded Starting July 15

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

Beginning July 15, dairy businesses in Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky will be eligible to apply for a new round of funding to modernize and diversify their operations through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) program.

The first round of funds for this program was made available in 2020 as part of an ongoing grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. So far, the University of Tennessee Department of Animal Science in partnership with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture and Tennessee Department of Agriculture have awarded approximately $165,000 through DBII to Tennessee dairy producers.

In this new round of DBII funding, the pool of potential recipients is being expanded to include dairy businesses in Kentucky and North Carolina as well as Tennessee. The scale of projects that can be funded through this phase of funding has also grown.

Starting July 15, applicants in the three states will have the opportunity to submit project proposals for up to $500,000. The program will support projects of many sizes, but those making requests exceeding $150,000 should operate a viable dairy farm and/or dairy plant and utilize a large portion of local milk. Their grant proposal should include a robust business plan.

DBII is working in affiliation with North Carolina State University and the Kentucky Dairy Development Council (KDDC) to publicize and evaluate applications for this round of grant funding.

Anyone who has questions about the program or about allowable expenses or purchases should reach out to project leader and UT Extension Dairy Specialist Liz Eckelkamp at eeckelka@utk.edu or Hal Pepper, financial specialist with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, at hal.pepper@utk.edu.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.