WEST CHESTER (September 20, 2019) – Dairy farmers looking to expand and modernize their businesses can now apply for funding through Pennsylvania’s Dairy Investment Program (PDIP), state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.
The program, now in its second year, provides $5 million in total for research and development, organic transition, value-added processing for items like cheese and yogurt, and marketing grants in support of the Commonwealth’s Dairy Industry.
The deadline to apply is November 15.
“Dairy farming is a big part of our heritage and our economy in Chester County and Pennsylvania. And like many industries, dairy is facing some significant changes,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, said. “This grant funding aims to help dairy farmers modernize, expand and stay competitive in a challenging business environment.”
PDIP provides 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.
The grants of up to $100,000 are available for research and development and marketing projects, and up to $50,000 for value-added processing projects and dairy operations transitioning to organic products.
Eligible applicants include dairy businesses and cooperatives, not-for-profit agricultural organizations, schools, and institutions of higher learning. A 15 percent cash match of the total project cost is required.
PDIP was established under Act 42 of 2018 and funding for its second year was made possible by the PA Farm Bill (Act 36 of 2019), of which Dinniman was a strong supporter.
It is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the PA Department of Agriculture (PDA), under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
Last year, PDIP provided $5 million in total grant support to 29 projects across 20 counties, including Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester County, which received a 50,000 grant to expand its dairy processing facility located in West Vincent.
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/