Grants Available for Small Dairy Farmers

by Brian Wilson
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Iowa dairy farmers planning to invest in new technology or expanded processing can now apply for state grants to finance part of their projects. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says the Dairy Innovation Grant Program is part of a broader effort to expand the amount of local food available to Iowa consumers.

The state is awarding a million dollars in grants to expand processing at meat lockers around the state this year. Now, Naig’s agency is accepting applications for part of the 750-thousand dollars lawmakers set aside for grants to dairy farms with fewer than 50 employees.

Naig expects may of the grant applications to be from dairy farmers planning to buy robotic milking systems, but he says there’s a lot of new technology out there to enhance production.

According to the Iowa State Dairy Association, there are nearly 800 dairy herds in Iowa — and over 200-thousand dairy cows. Naig says there are some large-scale dairy operations in the state, but this program is for smaller operations.

The maximum cost-share grant will be 100-thousand dollars. The grants may not be used to cover start-up costs, advertising, salaries or to pay off debt. The deadline to apply is February 9th.

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