Grants Available for Value Added Dairy Production

Curious cows at the Lake Wheeler dairy farm.

Beginning July 15, dairy businesses in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky will be eligible to apply for a new round of funding to modernize and diversify their operations through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) progra

The first round of funds for this program was made available to Tennessee dairy farms in 2020 as part of an ongoing grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. In this new round of DBII funding, the pool of potential recipients has expanded to include dairy businesses in Kentucky and North Carolina as well as Tennessee. The scale of projects that can be funded through this phase of funding has also grown.

Starting July 15, applicants in the three states will have the opportunity to submit project proposals for up to $500,000. The program will support projects of many sizes, but those making requests exceeding $150,000 should operate a licensed dairy farm and/or dairy plant, utilize a large portion of local milk, and their grant proposal should include a robust business plan.

DBII at the University of Tennessee is working in affiliation with North Carolina State University Extension and the Kentucky Dairy Development Council to publicize and evaluate applications for this round of grant funding.

Potential North Carolina applicants who have questions about the program should reach out to their state contacts, Dr. Stephanie Ward and Brittany Whitmire, at or (919) 515-4015.

NC State Extension transforms science into everyday solutions for North Carolinians through programs and partnerships focused on agriculture and food, health and nutrition, and 4-H youth development.