Dairy Business Innovation Alliance Announces 2022 Grant Recipients
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), announced in May 2022 the 38 companies and cooperatives which, via a competitive review process, have been selected to receive grants totaling more than $1.7 million.
The grants of up to $50,000 were awarded to the following companies.
Project Summary: Alpinage Cheese started production last year of Mount Raclette™, a handcrafted, Alpine-style, cave-aged cheese. This funding award will help Alpinage Cheese purchase cheese molds and racks to triple their production and expand their distribution. The funding will also help develop production of an additional cheese variety.
Project Summary: Berrybrook Organics is a multi-generational family farm producing a wide range of goods, including pastured meats and certified organic eggs, commodity crops and dry goods. This award will help Berrybrook Organics purchase equipment to produce and expand its artisanal homemade ice cream brand for distribution through multiple regional retail outlets.
Project Summary: CannonBelles Cheese produces artisanal cheese, including its award-winning Queso Fresco. This funding will help CannonBelles Cheese purchase environmental testing equipment, a pneumatic cheese cutter, and double chamber vacuum sealer. This equipment will also strengthen their food safety program and improve their cheese packaging capabilities, which will help grow sales throughout the upper Midwest.
Project Summary: Cinnamon Ridge Inc. is a family owned, farmstead operation producing Cheese Curds, Gouda, Cheddar and flavored cheeses. This award will help support a cheese cave storage and aging project, which allow Cinnamon Ridge, Inc. to produce more value-added cheese varieties and increase sales.
Project Summary: The Schoenberg family established Concept Processing in 2007 as a family owned, vertically integrated creamery and distribution company. They are launching a major product line expansion; bottling Stony Creek Dairy milk (various milks of skim, 1%, 2%, whole, and chocolate) into pint and quart containers. The expansion project will allow Concept Processing to distribute this diversified product line with its current distribution fleet and provide more product options to their existing customers and distributors.
Project Summary: Country View Dairy, LLC is a farmstead dairy production and processing operation producing yogurt, frozen yogurt, sour cream and fluid milk. This funding will help Country View Dairy improve its packaging equipment; for example, moving from a bag packaging system to traditional plastic jug containers to expand its sales of fluid milk and frozen yogurt. The new equipment will also allow for the development of chocolate milk and eggnog products.
Project Summary: Crimson Kitchen and Gardens produces raw milk soap and lotion utilizing milk from its small dairy farm (Crimson Ridge Dairy). This funding will help revise packaging and labeling and expand sales from farmer’s markets into retail, consignment and wholesale resulting in additional diversification and more stable income.
Project Summary: DARI LLC processes milk from its family-run dairy farm producing high quality milk products. This funding will allow DARI LLC to conduct a feasibility study for the building of an aseptic fluid milk processing plant in the upper Midwest.
Project Summary: Decatur Dairy and the Decatur Swiss Cheese Co-op have a unique partnership in which the farmer cooperative provides milk and the dairy makes the cheese and markets the products. The 56 farms currently in the co-op are eager to expand the amount of milk they supply for cheesemaking. This award will support expansion of the Decatur (Brodhead) cheese plant, which will result in increased production. The expansion project will provide a strengthened market for the co-op farmers and create opportunities for new farms to join.
Project Summary: Deerland Dairy is a farmstead operation that produces yogurt, buttermilk and sour cream made with 100% Jersey milk. This award will fund the purchase of a homogenizer, which will be used in the production of ice cream. Deerland Dairy is partnering with Frolic Ice Cream to make a minimally processed ice cream base that customers will be able to customize to their liking in their home.
Project Summary: Driftless Gold will be a newly developed, entrepreneurial on-farm milk bottling business located on the Hahn dairy farm. The farm milks Guernsey cattle and will bottle A2 milk for sale and distribution to southwest and southcentral Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and eastern Iowa. This funding will help support the purchase of bottling equipment.
Project Summary: Farm Life Creamery, LLC is a farmstead operation that uses its own milk to produce a variety of cheeses as well as bottling fluid milk in its Grade A bottling plant. This award will help Farm Life Creamery purchase equipment like a commercial vacuum chamber sealer and electric curd mill to improve efficiency to increase sales and production.
Project Summary: Fromage Spa reclaims dairy by-products, specifically cheese and butter, which has been mislabeled, damaged, deemed defective, and misshapen product subject to landfills or animal feed operations. This funding will help support the addition of a second production room/line for Fromage Spa’s dairy product cleaning, relabeling, and repackaging services.
Project Summary: Frozen Innovations, LLC is partnering with Deerland Dairy to make a minimally processed ice cream base that customers will be able to customize to their liking by use of the Frolic home ice cream machine. The machine will utilize organic ice cream pods for fresh, creamy ice cream with no pre-freezing necessary. This award will help fund the purchase of a cup filler for producing the ice cream pods.
Project Summary: Hansen's Sugar Shack, LLC is developing collaborative relationships between two sectors of Wisconsin agriculture industries – dairy and maple syrup – resulting in unique, value-added products. This grant will help them bring new, clean label products to the marketplace while also promoting Wisconsin agriculture.
Project Summary: Hightail produces premium ice cream that is delivered locally to customers. This grant will help Hightail acquire equipment to begin processing milk on-farm for production of farmstead specialty cheeses, custard and frozen yogurt.
Project Summary: Hill Valley Dairy LLC utilizes locally sourced milk from Romari Farms to produce specialty cheeses and unique flavored cheeses such as Black Pepper Cheddar and Whiskey Gouda. This funding will help Hill Valley Dairy LLC make and market new products such as small-sized, soft-ripened cheeses.
Project Summary: Knowlton House Distillery, a new craft distillery opening in January 2023, will be launching its flagship product line which is distilled from whey permeate. Grant funding will support product research and development, helping Knowlton House Distillery to showcase whey’s ability to produce premium distilled spirits.
Project Summary: Landmark Creamery LLC, a women-owned cheese company, seeks to rebuild a portion of southern Wisconsin’s local dairy through the creation of a new value-added dairy manufacturing facility in Paoli, Wisconsin. This grant will help support the purchase a pasteurizer, which will allow the production of new, fresh dairy products like butter and bottled milk.
Project Summary: Maple-Oak Farm breeds purebred Saanen dairy goats and provides goat milk for Angelwood Soap Company. This grant will support plans to diversify Maple-Oak Farm’s product line by producing and selling fluid goat milk and other dairy products. Products will be sold using a direct-to-consumer model and will seek to fill a need for high-quality locally sourced dairy products in northeastern Wisconsin and the southwestern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Project Summary: Marieke® Gouda produces farmstead, award-winning cheeses using traditional Dutch cheesemaking techniques. They are undergoing a major expansion and this grant will fund sales and marketing consultants, help build a new sales base, and design the sales and marketing organizational capacity needed to deliver the necessary sales results. As part of the expansion, Marieke Marketing, LLC has been organized to be the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the cheese production.
Project Summary: Metz’s Hart-Land Creamery produce farmstead cheese utilizing milk from the Metz Family Farm. Currently, they market their cheese in block and curd forms. This grant will support the purchase of equipment to create various lines of flavored shredded cheese, cubes, or flavored slices to meet customer demand and increase sales.
Project Summary: Milk Specialties Global creates innovative, high-quality ingredients designed to deliver superior nutrition performance. This grant will support a research study investigating the possible benefits of whey protein phospholipid concentrate (WPPC) on stress, anxiety, and wellbeing for consumers. Currently, WPPC is a low value ingredient. However, WPPC may have the potential to become a value-added ingredient, as it contains a combination of high-quality whey protein, dairy fats, and bioactive compounds such as phospholipids.
Project Summary: Ms. J and Company is a sheep dairy farm selling fluid and frozen milk. Sheep milk has the unique quality that it can be frozen, thawed and yet still be transformed into high-quality dairy products. This grant will support the purchase of two insulated, moveable freezers, which will allow for reduced transportation costs between farm, storage facilities and clients, accept larger orders, increase production, and develop new clients in an expanded market.
Project Summary: North Sky Farm is a dairy startup endeavoring to create a soft-ripened Camembert-like cheese for the Chicago metropolitan market. This funding will support the purchase of creamery equipment designed for efficient production of artisanal cheese and the creation of labeling, packaging, and graphics to highlight this value-added, specialty cheese.
Project Summary: Oxheart Farm is a licensed Grade A dairy and farmstead creamery, selling pasteurized cream line milk and yogurt. This grant will be used to help Oxheart Farm diversify as they launch a frozen dairy dessert enterprise. With this funding. they will be producing and selling soft serve ice cream and smoothies at their local farmers market.
Project Summary: Pine River makes three types of cheese spread: Cold Pack, Clean Label Cold Pack and Gourmet Snack Spread. The grant money will be used to continue to market Pine River and their award-winning products into markets that have been underdeveloped. By improving the bulk line speed and operations, Pine River can offer prices that are competitive in the marketplace while still producing high quality dairy products.
Project Summary: The Caves of Faribault, owned by Prairie Farms Dairy, are located within a tall sandstone bluff overlooking the Straight River in Faribault, Minnesota. Since 1936, the caves have been used to age cheese. This project will support the purchase of an additional cheese vat, allowing the Caves of Faribault to produce significantly more cheese per year utilizing over 8.8 million pounds of upper Midwest milk.
Project Summary: Prairie Homestead Creamery has developed a gelato recipe utilizing goat milk. This grant will help support this farm diversification project; helping the farm establish another revenue stream through its goat milk gelato production and potentially helping promote milking goats to other farmers and dairy processors.
Project Summary: Prairie Sky Ranch is developing Prairie Heritage Yak Dairy – the first yak dairy of its kind in the U.S., and the only yak cheese produced outside of the Himalayas, in partnership with the World Heritage Yak Conservancy. This grant will help them improve efficiencies, allowing them to produce yak cheese domestically, and bring manufacturing jobs from overseas.
Project Summary: Radiance Dairy is an organic dairy producing fluid milk and cheese. In recent years, Radiance Dairy has explored and experimented with producing a fresh, certified organic Mozzarella cheese. This grant will support the purchase of equipment to stretch and form the mozzarella balls from curd, allowing Radiance Dairy to streamline the cheesemaking process and insure a consistent and quality product.
Project Summary: The Rolling Lawns Farm is a dairy selling fluid dairy products looking to expand into premium frozen desserts. Ice cream is currently made and sold only on site, but there is high demand from consumers for additional retailers. This grant will support equipment to expand the ice cream product portfolio into packaged containers to be sold in grocery stores and specialty retailers.
Project Summary: Renard’s Cheese Store is a family owned and operated cheesemaking business in Door County, Wisconsin. The grant money will be used for a labeling machine which will be a tremendous improvement to the current workflow. Automating the process may allow sales to double in the near future.
Project Summary: Silo View Creamery is a new business bottling milk on a family farm. They are looking to bottle A2 cream line milk from their Holstein and Jersey herd. This grant will support start-up equipment costs for the creamery.
Project Summary: Specialty Cheese manufactures artisan cheeses from around the world. Demand for their artisanal cheeses is outstripping capacity. This grant funding will help to improve the cheese forming of many of its artisanal cheese varieties by moving towards a semi-automated process.
Project Summary: Stensland Creamery is a family-run creamery operated on Stensland Family Farms looking to expand into a new market with their popular ice cream products. The grant funding will support the purchase of equipment to establish an ice cream sales outlet aimed at summer tourists.
Project Summary: Two Guernsey Girls Creamery is a small unique farmstead creamery in Freedom, Wisconsin with a thriving milk bottling and cheese curd making business. Current customers and sales outlets are excited at the prospect of purchasing additional products from the Creamery, so expanding into block cheese production is the logical next step. This grant funding will support additional cheesemaking training as well as equipment required for this product expansion.
Project Summary: Widmer’s Cheese Cellars is a 4th- generation, family run cheesemaking business. It is currently undertaking the modernization of the plant, with replacement of 1950s installed vats. This grant funding will go towards new vats which will increase production of Widmer award-winning cheeses including cheddar, brick, and Colby, and will maintain the handcrafted quality that Widmer is famous for. The modernization project also will help Widmer maintain its staff and increase sales.