The National Milk Producers Federation welcomed the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it will purchase $50 million worth of fluid milk for distribution to domestic food assistance programs – the first time the agency has bought milk for use in this manner.
The USDA said Tuesday that it will authorize the expenditure of $50 million in Section 32 funds to purchase a range of consumer-friendly milk varieties, including whole, 2 percent, 1 percent and skim. The agency will purchase the milk from approved vendors, and distribute the product – an estimated 12-15 million gallons, depending on the prices agreed to by USDA and its suppliers – to food assistance organizations such as Feeding America. The USDA will be offering informational webinars to dairy companies that wish to sell milk to the agency through this donation program.
“We are pleased that USDA is now including fluid milk in the assortment of foods it is buying and donating, as milk is in high demand at food banks because of its unparalleled nutritional benefits,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “This effort will help more Americans meet their U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended daily consumption of milk. We appreciate this initial step and look forward to working with the department to continue building upon this effort.”
“NMPF has been sharing information with USDA about the best way to maximize the value of the farmer assistance program that will be implemented soon, and we are hopeful that the agency moves quickly to get resources in the hands of dairy farmers this fall,” Mulhern said.