WEST CHESTER (September 26, 2018) – Dairy farmers looking to modernize and expand their businesses can now access the new Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program, state Senator Andy Dinniman said today.

Under the program, $5 million in grant funding is available to help Pennsylvania dairy farmers overcome challenges and capitalize on new opportunities.

“I grew up on a dairy farm. I know it’s hard work and it’s only gotten harder,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, said. “Pennsylvania dairy farmers are currently facing significant challenges, financial obstacles, and a tough market. I hope this program, the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, helps them diversify their businesses, keep pace with changes in the industry, and stay competitive.”

The program, established under Act 42 of 2018, is now open for applications after guidelines were recently approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

The Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program will provide grants to eligible applicants for researching new technologies, products and best practices; marketing to new domestic and international markets and exploring new business opportunities to diversify their operation and revenue streams; transitioning to organic production methods; and incorporating or expanding value-added dairy production, such as cheese and yogurt products.

The program provides grants of up to $100,000 for research and development and marketing projects, and up to $50,000 for value-added processing projects and dairy operations transitioning to organic products.

A 15 percent cash match of the total project cost is required.

Eligible applicants include dairy businesses and cooperatives, not-for-profit agricultural organizations, schools, and institutions of higher learning. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis as long as funding is available.

The program is administered the CFA. Grants are only available for projects that are not already underway.

“Our dairy farms are not only part of our Pennsylvania heritage, but they also represent a vital sector of our economy,” Dinniman said.

Pennsylvania ranks sixth in total milk production nationally, with 525,000 cows producing more than 10.8 billion pounds of milk annually, according to the Center for Dairy Excellence. It has the second largest number of dairy farms nationally, having more dairy farms than every other state except Wisconsin. The state’s dairy industry is a major contributor to overall economic activity, generating an -estimated 52,000 jobs and $14.7 billion in economic activity in 2015.

Chester County dairy farms rank fifth in dairy revenue generation in Pennsylvania with a total farm revenue in 2007 of $68 million, representing 12.3% of the value of total agricultural products sold in the County, according to the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The estimated economic impact on Chester County from dairy farming is $247.3 million and about 2,000 employment opportunities.

Interested applicants must submit an application online with the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Electronic Single Application for Assistance at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.

Additional program details are available on DCED’s website https://dced.pa.gov/programs/pennsylvania-dairy-investment-program-pdip/

 

 

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