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Signing on the dotted line

A producer of cultured dairy food products and hard cheeses for more than 115 years, Westby Cooperative Creamery is one of 10 Wisconsin dairy companies selected to receive a Dairy Processor Grant from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Intended to foster innovation, improve profitability and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities, the grants are awarded through a competitive review process. A total of $200,000 was awarded statewide, with Westby Cooperative Creamery receiving $15,000. The cooperative, owned by more than 200 farmers, plans to use the funds to advance a pilot bulk yogurt dispensary project for institutional settings such as schools, hospitals and prisons. Pictured at a contract-signing ceremony are: DATCP Secretary Brad Pfaff (front, left) and Mark Rutlin, Westby Cooperative Creamery sales manager; and Charlotte Litjens, DATCP Farm to School director (back left) and Krista Knigge, administrator of DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Development.

Ten Wisconsin dairy companies have been named recipients of Dairy Processor Grants through a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection program intended to foster innovation, improve profitability and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities.

“Dairy processors need to be innovative, efficient and adaptable, which in many cases means looking at new technologies, modernizing facilities, developing new products and exploring innovative ways to improve farm profitability,” said DATCP Secretary Brad Pfaff. “These grants are designed to help them do so. By improving the long-term viability of our dairy farms, Wisconsin will continue to be known as America’s Dairyland.”

A total of $200,000 was available for the 2019 Dairy Processor Grants, with a maximum $50,000 allowed for each project. Grant recipients are required to provide a match of at least 20 percent of the grant amount. DATCP received 14 grant requests totaling about $350,000. Through a competitive review process, 10 dairy processors were selected to receive a total of $200,000.

Among the recipients is Westby Cooperative Creamery, which received $15,000. Owned by more than 200 farmers, Westby Cooperative Creamery has been producing cultured dairy food products and hard cheeses for over 115 years. Westby will use the funds for a pilot bulk yogurt dispensary project in schools, a project which has potential for other institutional buyers.

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