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Sen. Baldwin Authors Amendment to Fund for Dairy Innovation
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 08/02/2018

The U.S. Senate's FY2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill now includes a provision that promotes dairy business innovation though a newly passed amendment, authored by Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin. As part of her Dairy Business Innovation Act, the government would provide $7 million in funding to spur dairy product innovation, while providing help for cheesemakers and other dairy businesses to start and expand into new markets.

"Wisconsin's dairy businesses are a key driver of our state's economy, but recently our dairy farmers have faced very challenging times with an oversupply of milk and low milk prices," Baldwin said. "It's critical that farmers, cheesemakers and dairy processors have tools to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward."

The Wisconsin Democrat first proposed the idea back in June to establish regional initiatives to spur innovation in dairy businesses to help increase value to the milk farmers produce and expand uses for milk to address oversupply and depressed milk prices. The legislation was included in the 2018 Senate Farm Bill that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

"Cheesemakers and dairy product manufacturers are incredibly talented in making high-quality dairy products that consumers have come to love," said FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative General Manager Jeff Lyon. "When faced with challenges, it is important to think outside the box. This legislation allows the dairy industry to do just that--by being creative in the development of new dairy products, expanding production capacity and developing new markets."

The full Senate is expected to vote on the entire spending bill later this month.

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