FRESNO, Calif. — Dairy farmers and processors in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington are invited to apply through Tuesday, Feb. 28 for funding to aid in dairy product development, production, marketing and distribution. Fresno State faculty and staff will host a webinar from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13 with helpful hints about the second cycle of grant awards from the Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Innovation Initiative.
“We anticipate awarding more than a dozen grants of approximately $50,000 to $1 million this spring,” said Dr. Carmen Licon Cano, Food Science and Nutrition Department faculty and the project director. “This opportunity is part of a whole-farm system approach and increasing collaboration with other farms or dairy sector stakeholders.”
Potential projects range from product line expansion and alternative processing technologies to value-added product development for producers like Central Coast Creamery. The Paso Robles company was awarded $40,000 in the program’s first round of grants last fall to purchase a cheese wheel coating machine to encourage market expansion, increased production capacity and improved worker training.
The Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Innovation Initiative is funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and hosted by Fresno State, with collaboration by Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chapman University, Chico State, Oregon State University, UC Davis, Washington State University and the California Dairy Innovation Center. These partners will offer over 600 hours of technical assistance through industry training to foster innovation and best practices, often in bilingual forms for Spanish-speaking workers.