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New USDA dairy business innovation center opened

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets this week introduced the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, known also at the NE-DBIC. It is one of three USDA Dairy Business Innovation Centers in the U.S.
The Northeast DBIC provides support to cow, goat, and sheep dairy businesses in all New England states, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The center, managed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, provides support to dairy businesses through projects that promote the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products. Projects target dairy farms and processors while providing additional support through market research and technical assistance.
The NE-DBIC’s investment and project strategy promotes innovation and resiliency for regional production of dairy products through four pillars:
1. Environmental Resource Management: water quality, forage and cropping strategies, and efficient utilization of resources.
2. Business Management: business profitability, skill development, and future-focused strategy.
3. Animals: breed/species that appropriately match business’ production model and business goals.
4. People: career satisfaction; appropriate compensation; ability to develop; and safe, dignified professional reputation.
The USDA awarded $6.59 million for Northeast DBIC projects extending through 2023. Half of the federal funding awarded for the Northeast DBIC will be granted to dairy farmers and value-added processors.
Projects under way include: Vermont Cheese Council for cheese distribution capacity building; UVM Extension for value-added production safety and grazing transition technical assistance; Atlantic Corporation for goat and sheep milk market research; and direct grants to Cellars at Jasper Hill and Parish Hill Creamery.
Upcoming opportunities through the NE-DBIC early in 2021 include the release of bids for a distribution network study, a marketing and branding study, and a multi-business dairy agritourism grant program.
To stay in the loop on innovative projects and grant opportunities across the region, sign-up for the NE-DBIC monthly newsletter at tinyurl.com/DairyFarmNewsletter.

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