USDA awards $23 million to support dairy initiatives

Agency also announces August milk margin triggered eighth consecutive payment for producers.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

October 4, 2023

2 Min Read

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Oct. 3 that it is awarding $23 million to support dairy businesses and producers under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBI) grant program. The initiatives support small and mid-sized dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.

“Since 2019, the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have made significant impacts to the dairy industry and the agricultural economy as a whole through the funding of 441 projects,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Today’s additional funding will allow the initiatives to continue to provide the dairy industry and its businesses with tools and resources to ensure a steady supply of dairy products is available to consumers across the country.”

This year’s funds are being awarded noncompetitively to the four current DBI Initiatives at the California State University Fresno, the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the University of Wisconsin. The initiatives will use the funding to provide valuable technical assistance and subaward funds to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, supporting them with business plan development, marketing, and branding, as well as increasing access to innovative production and processing techniques to support the development of value-added products.

Dairy Margin Coverage program triggers

USDA also recently announced that August milk margin triggered the eighth consecutive payment for dairy producers who obtained Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for the 2023 program year. August’s income over feed margin was $6.46/cwt., with projected DMC payments totaling $120 million. To date, including the projected August payments, dairy producers have received more than $1.2 billion in much needed economic support for 2023 and margin forecasts indicate the likelihood of more to come before the end of the calendar year. 

“While livestock and crop producers alike have been financially impacted by catastrophic natural disaster events, dairy producers’ financial stressors have been compounded by significant market volatilities,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Dairy Margin Coverage is a key risk management tool for dairy operations to financially endure the numerous, and often unpredictable uncertainties that adversely impact market prices for milk.”   

DMC complements other assistance available to dairy producers, including the Milk Loss Program (MLP) and the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP).

USDA recently announced a second round of payments for dairy producers through ODMAP, providing an additional $5 million to help dairy producers with marketing costs to mitigate market volatility, higher input and transportation costs and unstable feed supply and prices that have created unique hardships in the organic dairy industry. FSA has already paid out $15 million in the first round of payments for eligible producers, bringing total ODMAP payments to $20 million.   

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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