A total of 28 dairy businesses from four states have been selected to receive grants of between $1,500 and $1m by the Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Initiative. Hosted by California State University, Fresno in collaboration with the California Dairy Innovation Center and seven other universities and polytechnics, the program is funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to fund initiatives with a focus on product, process and packaging innovation. Its aims include diversifying dairy product markets and farmer income streams; promoting business development; and encouraging the utilization of regional milk production.
The latest awardees – which include 10 businesses from California, 1 from New Mexico, 10 from Oregon and 7 from Washington – will benefit from funding from equipment and training.
Equipment should improve the consistency of product size and pack; automate repetitive tasks to free up time for innovative product development; allow production quantities to be scaled up; and transform product packaging that will increase shelf life, consistency of product weight and/or package functionality.
Funding for technical assistance and training would be aimed at enhancing quality, consistency and innovation of products, e.g. feasibility design studies and sensory evaluations. Creation of business plans and promotional campaigns are also included in this funding category, as is the development of curriculum for interns and the expansion of agritourism and career opportunities.
Reflecting on the latest funding round, PCC-DBII director Carmen Licon, Ph.D. and assistant professor in Food Science and Nutrition at Fresno State commented: “We are proud to offer this funding as a direct response to the needs of those in the dairy arena.
“Not only will these businesses improve their processes and products, but the West Coast region will have a stronger dairy presence.”
Grouped by state, the 28 grant awardees are as follows:
California: Alexandre Family Creamery (Crescent City); Foggy Bottoms Boys (Ferndale); Drake Family Farms (Ontario); Leo Leo Gelato (Paso Robles); OutWest (Willows); Rocky Oaks Goat Creamery (Clovis); Rumiano Cheese (Willows); Stepladder Creamery (Cambria); Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery (Valley Ford); WonderCow (Madera)
New Mexico: Hamblin Dairy (La Plata)
Oregon: Creamline Farms (Milton-Freewater); Crushpad Creamery (Grants Pass); Dreamie’s Creamery (Dallas); Fraga Farmstead Creamery (Gales Creek); Lady Lane Farm (Mulino); PNW Water Buffalo Project (Milton-Freewater); Rising Sun Dairy (Turner); Ruby Jewel Company (Portland); TMK Creamery (Canby); Truly Keto (Portland)
Washington: Andersen Dairy (Battle Ground); Columbia Community Creamery (Chewelah); Lost Peacock Creamery (Olympia); Mount Rainier Creamery (Enumclaw); Oliver Family Creamery (Zillah); Portland Creamery (Vancouver); Steensma Creamery (Lynden)