Senator Baldwin proposed the legislation in June of this year with fellow Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). It would “promote dairy product innovation, provide technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses,” as well as increase “dairy processing capacity, responding to oversupply of milk that is threatening livelihoods of Wisconsin farmers.”
The bipartisan amendment was debated on the Senate floor on Wednesday to include $7m in the Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill. It passed with a vote of 83-15.
According to Senator Baldwin, the ‘Dairy Business Innovation Act’ would have the power to “establish regional initiatives to spur innovation in dairy businesses, which can help add more value to the milk farmers produce and expand uses for milk to address oversupply and depressed milk prices.”
The technical assistance and grants from the regional initiatives will specifically support new and expanding dairy businesses, promote innovation in dairy products and help with dairy plant modernization and process improvement.
Technical assistance could help with business plans, marketing materials, private consultations and public trainings, while grant assistance could provide crucial updates to dairy equipment and facilities.
“Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy, but recently our dairy farmers have faced very challenging times with an oversupply of milk and low milk prices. It’s critical that farmers, cheesemakers and dairy processors have tools to innovate and develop new ‘Made in Wisconsin’ dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward,” said Senator Baldwin.
“I’m proud to have secured this funding to create new initiatives and expand resources for our dairy businesses to foster innovation, improve their manufacturing practices and reach new markets so Wisconsin’s dairy industry can continue to lead the nation.”