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Six Michigan Businesses Selected for New Dairy Business Builder Grants

Selected businesses located in Charlevoix, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Hart, and Vassar

LANSING, Mich. - Today, the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a partnership between the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, announced 31 companies and cooperatives receiving $2.4 million in grants with six Michigan companies among those chosen.

Selected businesses include Charlevoix Cheese Company, Furniture City Creamery in Grand Rapids, Saltless Sea Creamery in Traverse City, Semifreddo LLC in Hart, Thistle Dew Creamery in Vassar, and VernDale Products Inc., located in Detroit.

“At MDARD, we’re dedicated to supporting our strong dairy industry. Our new partnership with DBIA  resulted in six Michigan businesses receiving funding allowing them to increase innovation and expand,” said MDARD Acting Director Kathy Angerer. “Michigan’s dairy industry provides nutritious foods produced and processed locally while making a significant economic impact across the state. Continuing to invest in our food and agriculture boosts rural and agriculture economic development helping to make us Michigan strong.”

In September of 2022, MDARD joined the federal DBIA program. DBIA aims to support small- to medium-sized dairy businesses in diversifying on-farm activity, creating value-added products, enhancing dairy by-products, and creating or enhancing dairy export programs.

Since its creation in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, the DBIA has administered technical assistance and over $3.7 million in grants to dairy businesses in five Midwestern states. Additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now supporting an expansion of the program’s service area to include Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.

Future funding will become available in early 2023. MDARD is continuing to encourage the dairy industry to apply for these new grant opportunities.