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DATCP Awards First Round of Dairy 30x20 Processor Grants
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/27/2014

Seven dairy companies have been named as the first-ever recipients of the new Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Processor Grants. The winning applicants were announced on Thursday. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the funds can be used for operational changes that will improve production and profitability.

"This new program will help dairy processors explore new technologies and resolve regulatory issues in order to ensure a demand for quality Wisconsin milk," said State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel. "Processors will be able to reach new markets and position themselves for long-term success."

These first round of grants total $200,000. Recipients include:

** Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods, Stratford - The company focuses on unique and unusual cheeses such as super kosher certified, halal certified or condiment-infused. Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods produces more than 1 million pounds of specialty cheese per year and is working to grow into new markets. The company will use the grant money to seek third-party certification to meet the needs of customers who require that level of food-safety certification.

** Marron Foods, Durand - Marron Foods produces customized food ingredients for food-manufacturing companies around the world. The company will use the grant money to seek third-party certification to assure continued growth and employment opportunities.

** Dairyvative Technologies, Markesan - Dairyvative Technologies has developed a process for concentrating milk that enables fresh pasteurized lactose-free milk to ship without refrigeration. This novel technology would allow milk once shipped in seven dedicated tankers to be shipped in a single, unrefrigerated shipping container. The technology could reduce shipping costs by 84 percent and greatly expand markets for Wisconsin dairy farmers.

** Cedar Valley Cheese, Belgium - Cedar Valley plans a plant expansion to add cheese shredding and dicing equipment. Currently, the company has truckloads of cheese shredded at other plants. Grant money will be used to train current employees on using the new equipment and maintaining food safety in the process. The expansion will allow the company to add four new jobs.

** Shullsburg Creamery, Shullsburg - The company is building a multimillion-dollar cheese plant that will be attached to its cut and wrap facility. Shullsburg Creamery plans to hire a Safe Quality Food consultant to train staff and help develop a food safety plan and other policies.

** Taylor Cheese, Weyauwega - The company will use the grant to upgrade food-quality audit requirements. The company also plans to obtain certification as an organic food processor. These two changes will help the company grow its markets in ways that will allow for increased production, added jobs, better margins, and more profitability.

** Specialty Cheese, Reeseville - The company currently produces more Paneer cheese (a non-melting cheese popular in southern Asia) than any other company in the world. Specialty Cheese plans to use the grant money to automate its Paneer production in order to keep prices competitive and increase profitability.

Program coordinators say the grant program is designed to work with the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Producer Grants that were announced last year.

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