US - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced plans to purchase approximately 11 million pounds of cheese from private inventories to assist food banks and pantries across the nation.
The purchase, valued at $20 million, will be provided to families in need across the country through USDA nutrition assistance programmes, while assisting the stalled marketplace for dairy producers whose revenues have dropped 35 per cent over the past two years.
USDA received requests from Congress, the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to make an immediate dairy purchase. The department also announced that it will extend the deadline for dairy producers to enrol in the Margin Protection Programme (MPP) for Dairy.
"By supporting a strong farm safety net, expanding credit options and growing domestic and foreign markets, USDA is committed to helping America's dairy operations remain successful," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF commented: “We appreciate the prompt action taken by the US Department of Agriculture.
“This cheese purchase will provide some assistance to America’s dairy farmers through increased demand for their milk, while also serving the needs of Americans who patronise food banks and other charitable assistance organisations that will distribute the cheese purchased by USDA.
“We will continue to assess the economic situation facing dairy farmers, and suggest ways to help farmers endure this lengthy period of low prices.”
TheCattleSite News Desk