Seven dairy companies are the first ever recipients of the new Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Processor Grants, Governor Scott Walker announced today. The Grow Wisconsin Dairy Processor Grant is part of the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Initiative, aimed at improving the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy industry.
“These companies will now have the means to explore new technologies, make operational changes, and improve profitability that can foster innovation and success,” Governor Walker said. “This new initiative for dairy processors, coupled with our existing Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 program for farmers, will support a growing demand for quality Wisconsin milk and dairy products.”
Governor Walker introduced these processor grants, totaling $200,000 annually, in the 2013-2015 state budget he signed last June.
Wisconsin already produces a quarter of the nation’s cheese supply and there is a growing demand for Wisconsin dairy products abroad. In the first three months of 2014 alone, the value of all dairy product exports from Wisconsin increased 63 percent over the same time period in 2013. The value of just cheese and cheese curd exports jumped 70 percent in the first three months of 2014 compared to same time period in 2013, and whey, a by-product of cheese making that until recently was something to throw away, is now used as a food ingredient with a Wisconsin export value of $44 million for the first three months of 2014, a 53 percent increase over the same time last year.
These processor awards will be used for projects that will help these companies add jobs, increase profitability, and meet food quality and safety standards that will be adopted in the near future. One project has the potential for revolutionizing how Wisconsin milk is shipped, unrefrigerated, around the world reducing shipping costs and expanding markets for Wisconsin dairy farmers.
Inaugural recipients of the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30 x20 Processor Grants:
Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods, Stratford – The company focuses on unique and unusual cheeses such as super kosher certified, halal certified or condiment-infused. Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods produces more than 1 million pounds of specialty cheese per year and is working to grow into new markets. The company will use the grant money to seek third-party certification to meet the needs of customers who require that level of food-safety certification.