Dairy farmers in Tanzania and Ethiopia will receive assistance from a pair of U.S. non-profits, including the Land O’Lakes International Development Fund in Minnesota. This week the Arden Hills-based fund announced that it has been awarded $18.1 million over the next five years from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to increase the productivity of dairy cows and modernize breeding services in the two countries.

The money will support 800 private and public artificial insemination service providers to train 225,000 small farmers on improved dairy cattle management. It will also use crossbreeding to raise milk production from an average 2.3 liters per day from local cows to more than 12 liters per day.

Project goals also include increasing conception and calving rates, training more than 150,000 women dairy farmers, and producing  more than 600,000 new improved-breed calves.

 “Compared to rain-feed crops, dairy farming can provide families not only with a year-round income, but also with a regular source of animal protein they can consume,” said Jon Halverson, executive director of the Land O’Lakes International Development Fund.

The fund was established in 2002 to generate additional financial and other resources to enhance the work of Land O’Lakes, Inc., which has been active in more than 80 countries through more than 280 development projects.

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