Press Release

Welch Discusses Farm Bill and Programs to Support Vermont Dairy Farmers at Organic Dairy Farm in Vernon 

Jun 14, 2024

VERNON, VT – Today, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, toured the Miller Farm in Vernon to discuss Senate Democrats’ Farm Bill, the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act, and Federal support for farmers through programs like the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), which provides dairy farmers and processors grants to develop and market their products. One of four regional hubs across the U.S., the Vermont-based NE-DBIC has provided $28 million in grants to farmers and processors since its creation in the 2018 Farm Bill, and over $45 million has been awarded to the center for projects through 2026. 

Among those projects is the Miller Farm, an organic 200-cow dairy that received a $223,000 grant to expand its processing line and provide equipment for four area schools to begin serving local milk to students. Serving milk in cups, not cartons, led to a 65% reduction in waste at participating schools.  

“There’s nothing better than serving milk from a Vermont farm to kids in Vermont schools. This is what we need to do more of around the country. It takes communities working together, but it also takes federal support. Funding from Dairy Business Innovation Center has been crucial to providing Vermont-sized dairy farmers and processors with grants, technical assistance, marketing help, and beyond. That’s why it is essential for Congress to reauthorize these centers in this year’s Farm Bill and provide more funding so they can keep helping our farmers,” said Senator Welch. “I’ll continue working to deliver federal dollars to support Vermont’s dairy farmers as we work to pass the Farm Bill.”  

Senate Democrats’ recently unveiled Farm Bill, the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act, includes several of Senator Welch’s priorities for Vermont’s dairy farmers: 

  • This Farm Bill directs USDA to improve collection of organic dairy market data, as directed under Sen. Welch’s O DAIRY Act.   
  • This Farm Bill expands the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Program to include dairy products such as cheese and yogurt as outlined in the bipartisan Dairy Nutrition Incentive Program Act, which Sen. Welch co-sponsors.   
  • This Farm Bill reauthorizes and increases authorization from $20 million to $36 million for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program.  
  • This Farm Bill makes improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program. 

View photos from the event below: