Fresno State University students, staff to benefit from $19 million soon in regional funding USDA for Dairy company innovation This will support dairy processing capacity expansion and technical assistance in six Western states.
In many ways, Fresno State University’s dairy processing program will directly benefit from a four-year follow-on grant overseen by the government USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Serves dairy processors in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
PhD.Carmen Licon Cano, Assistant Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at Fresno State University, serves as program director. As an expert in dairy development and sensory evaluation, she is excited to help producers improve profitability and economic resilience, while offering students new career opportunities.
“This program is an important way to better connect industry with the resources of higher education institutions,” said Licon Cano. “The Pacific Coast Alliance provides many venues to help producers enhance their product lines, packaging, marketing, branding, supply chain methods and workforce training programs. The combined expertise has also developed a variety of avenues to enhance support for students and existing dairy The training of labor in the manufacturing industry.”
PhD.Susan Pheasantdirector Institute of Food and Agriculture In Fresno State, served as the coordinator of the program, and Daniel Avila, the manager of the program Campus Creamwill add help.
Students at Fresno State University and other universities will benefit through internship programs and research positions as they work directly with participating companies.
A pilot plant dairy plant retrofitted with modern technology will better place Fresno State at the heart of the program. The new campus facility will create small batches of products while encouraging hands-on learning, research and product development. Upgrades include:
- A cheese processing line including cheese barrels donated by the Leprino Food Company Foundation. Leprino Foods is a global leader in the dairy industry with two manufacturing facilities in the Central Valley.
- A cheese maturation room.
- A mozzarella stretcher, cooker and shaper.
- A membrane separation system used to filter various components in milk to make different types of products.
- A new semi-automated yogurt processing line.
Fresno is located in the heart of California, the leading dairy processing state in the United States, producing more than 40 million pounds of milk annually. Nearby Tulare County is often listed as a national production leader, and several other Central Valley counties are often ranked in the top 10 nationally. The six-state Pacific Coast Alliance region accounts for nearly 30 percent of all milk produced within the United States.
Additional faculty from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; Cal Poly, Humboldt; Chico State; Chapman University; UC Davis; Oregon State University; and Washington State University will share their dairy processing expertise and pilot processing plants to provide technical assistance and collaborate with industry members through outreach and events.
Veronica Lagrange California Dairy Innovation Center, Participating university and professional partners will provide technical assistance through workshops, short courses and webinars to promote innovation and best practice. Bilingual training will improve implementation for Spanish-speaking workers.
The program’s Pacific Coast Alliance was launched in October 2021 thanks to an initial $1.8 million, three-year grant to support dairy development, production, marketing and distribution in California, Oregon and Washington.
In August this year, the initiative accepted First round of innovation award applications For dairy processors and producers in the three initial states of the Union. A total of $300,000 will be awarded annually in increments of $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 for the next three years. The new funding round will provide an additional $9.5 million over four years to dairy processors in six states.
Applications will be linked to products and methods related to value-added product development, product line expansion, alternative processing technologies, or sustainability-enhancing methods to increase profitability.
The second round of funding is part of the U.S. rescue package. In July 2022, USDA Undersecretary Jennifer Lester Moffett made an initial announcement during a campus visit that included U.S. Representatives Connie Conway and Jim Costa and Fresno State President Sol El Jimenez-Sandoval.
Fresno state government officials Department of Food Science and Nutrition Graduate students Daniel Olmos and Joanie Snow and in Jordan Agricultural Research Center and facilities Oran Sensory Lab
“The pandemic has shown that dairy producers and regional dairy processors, especially those engaged in value-added production, have faced systemic shocks over the past few years,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Hear from producers and processors how we are working with the industry to build long-term resilience in the regional dairy supply chain. The Dairy Enterprise Innovation Program supports regional efforts targeting the needs of local dairy farmers and businesses.”