By Melissa FaresThe U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it has approved a $8 billion investment in cheese processing technologies for the first time since the government began using the technology in 2010.
The federal agency has approved the investments in the Agricultural Research Service, which manages the federal contract, for the production and processing of milk and other dairy products, according to a USDA press release.
The investments will provide critical funding for the cheese processing technology and help support an industry that is poised to grow with more jobs, better products and more efficient production processes, said USDA Assistant Secretary for Dairy Products, Gary Casteel.
“This investment will help us meet the growing demand for dairy products from consumers in both the U..
S., Canada and other countries around the world, as well as support our efforts to help grow this critical industry,” Castele said.
Casteel said the $8 million in federal funding will support the dairy processing technologies development and deployment through 2019.
In addition, $3 million will be used to support the procurement of a new cheese processing plant to support new cheese-making technologies.
The Agricultural Research Services is the largest federal agency dedicated to cheese research, development and evaluation.
The USDA was one of the first federal agencies to make use of the cheese technology, which uses liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to measure the composition of milk, cheese and other ingredients.
According to USDA data, there are more than 8.5 million dairy cows in the U-M-based dairy farm, which currently employs about 200 people.
About 75 percent of U-Mo’s dairy farm is located in the Central Valley, where Castel said the investment will also support the growth of the dairy industry.
The USDA’s announcement comes just two months after the agency announced a $2.9 billion investment to expand its cheese processing capability.
The agency said the dairy production, processing and packaging capabilities would help it increase production capacity by up to 1.6 million pounds annually.
The announcement also comes as U. S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is calling for the U