Canada’s dairy industry has been a focal point of numerous recent trade agreements including the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). Negotiations for each required the federal government to open the domestic market to international dairy processors, a move which is putting financial pressure on many Canadian dairy processors.
Fortunately, Canadian government funding programs such as the Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF) can help dairy processors offset the costs of technology adoption projects. By investing in new technologies, processors can make their operations more efficient and cost-competitive with imported products. The program offers vital support to the industry and has the potential to save some dairy processors that would otherwise find it too difficult to compete.
Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, eligible applicants can receive up to $10 million in agriculture grants towards dairy processing equipment.
To access DPIF agriculture funding, qualified dairy processors must complete a two-phased process that includes submitting a Project Summary and (if called forward) a full application. The program operates on an open call for applications; this means that eligible applicants can submit a Project Summary anytime until the program closes on March 31, 2021.
What is the Dairy Processing Investment Fund?
The Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF) is a government funding program developed to improve the competitiveness of Canadian dairy processors. It offsets a portion of dairy processing equipment costs and enables more processors to access consultants and other expertise needed to make significant capital investments.
There are two streams of funding support provided through the program. These include:
- Capital Investment Projects: Provides up to 25-50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $10M in non-repayable grants for purchasing new dairy processing equipment and constructing/expanding infrastructure.
- Access to Expertise Projects: Provides up to 50-75% of eligible expenses to a maximum $250k in non-repayable grants for engaging external expertise to help improve products, processes, and/or technologies.
Dairy Processing Investment Fund: Applicant Eligibility
To access the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, applicants must be a dairy processor (producers are ineligible from funding) or represent the dairy processing sector. Eligible applicants include:
- For-profit businesses;
- Co-operatives (small and medium-sized cheese makers); and
- Non-profit organizations representing Canada’s dairy processing industry.
Please Note: Non-profit organizations may only apply to the program’s Access to Expertise stream.
Projects Supported by the Dairy Processing Investment Fund
To qualify for the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, projects must directly support dairy processing operations. Ideal projects enable the applicant to improve productivity and competitiveness so that it can better compete with international dairy products that now receive greater access to the Canadian market.
Specific activities supported by DPIF grants include:
- Construction, expansion, or renovation of dairy processing facilities;
- Manufacturing and processing improvements (such as automating production lines and implementing conveyors, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, ventilation, fridges, silos, and packaging equipment);
- Purchasing and implementing technologies to utilize surplus skim milk; and
- Introduction of new or improved products.
Access to Expertise
Engaging external expertise to support knowledge-transfer in areas such as:
- Business Improvement; and
- Market Development.
The program also funds participants that partner with an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research and Development Centre to improve an existing product, process, and/or technology.
DPIF Equipment Funding Success Stories
Since the Dairy Processing Investment Fund launched in 2017, many processors have used its support to strengthen their businesses. Some of its successful applicants include:
- COWS Inc. Awarded $1.8 Million in Dairy Processing Equipment Grants
- Over $900k in Agriculture Grants Support Fromagerie La Station
- Nearly $600k in DPIF Grants Awarded to La Trappe à Fromage
How to Apply for DPIF Dairy Processing Equipment Grants
To get started with the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, applicants must submit a Project Summary to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. If endorsed, the program invites the applicant to submit a comprehensive application package, including project budgets, work plans, and company financial statements. Project Summaries can be submitted year-round and should correspond with your project’s intended start date. All projects should receive approval before eligible costs are incurred.
To check your business’ eligibility for DPIF and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.