July 21 2023 09:14 AM

Jumpstarts Innovative Products and Prepares Workforce for the Future

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.

Over $4 million in grant funding has been awarded to nearly 30 dairy companies by the Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Initiative, hosted by California State University, Fresno. Awardees span four states and will receive between $1500 and $1,000,000 for innovation and sustainability-related investments, including equipment and training.

“We are proud to offer this funding as a direct response to the needs of those in the dairy arena,” said PCC-DBII Director Carmen Licon, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor in Food Science and Nutrition at Fresno State. “Not only will these businesses improve their processes and products, but the West Coast region will have a stronger dairy presence.”

Grouped by state, here are the grant awardees:

California: Alexandre Family Creamery (Crescent City); Foggy Bottoms Boys (Ferndale); Drake Family Farms (Ontario); Leo Leo Gelato (Paso Robles); OutWest (Willows); Rocky Oaks Goat Creamery (Clovis); Rumiano Cheese (Willows); Stepladder Creamery (Cambria); Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery (Valley Ford); WonderCow (Madera)

New Mexico: Hamblin Dairy (La Plata)

Oregon: Creamline Farms (Milton-Freewater); Crushpad Creamery (Grants Pass); Dreamie’s Creamery (Dallas); Fraga Farmstead Creamery (Gales Creek); Lady Lane Farm (Mulino); PNW Water Buffalo Project (Milton-Freewater); Rising Sun Dairy (Turner); Ruby Jewel Company (Portland); TMK Creamery (Canby); Truly Keto (Portland)

Washington: Andersen Dairy (Battle Ground); Columbia Community Creamery (Chewelah); Lost Peacock Creamery (Olympia); Mount Rainier Creamery (Enumclaw); Oliver Family Creamery (Zillah); Portland Creamery (Vancouver); Steensma Creamery (Lynden)

According to PCC-DBII “Cowkeeper” Dr. Susan Pheasant, projects range from time-saving equipment to expand product lines to creating marketing and business strategies for new products and agritourism efforts. Funded requests fit into two categories: Equipment and training.

Equipment will:

  • Improve the consistency of product size and pack
  • Automate repetitive tasks to free up human time for innovative product development
  • Allow production quantities to be scaled up, expanding market opportunities
  • Transform product packaging that will increase shelf life, consistency of product weight and/or package functionality

Technical assistance and training will:

  • Enhance quality, consistency, and innovation of products, such as feasibility design studies, shelf life studies, and sensory evaluations
  • Guide the creation of business plans and promotional campaigns specific to a new product as well as online strategies (website and social media)
  • Help develop curriculum for university interns, FFA high school students, and 4-H youth
  • Educate and expand agritourism and career opportunities, including a scaffolded approach to educating about where food comes from

THE PACIFIC COAST COALITION DAIRY BUSINESS INITIATIVE is funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and hosted by California State University, Fresno in collaboration with Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chapman University, Chico State, Oregon State University, UC Davis, Washington State University, and the California Dairy Innovation Center. For more information: https://www.dairypcc.net/