The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced in a “presolicitation for bids” that it will purchase $50 million of pasteurized fluid milk and will distribute it through food assistance programs and food banks.
The purchase is not part of the funding to compensate farmers from retaliatory tariffs on dairy products put in place by Mexico and China. “These purchases are part of the normal operations of administering Section 32 [of the Act of August 24, 1935] and are not related or associated with the authority or administration of possible purchases under Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation related to trade mitigation,” AMS says.
That amount of milk represents 12 to 15 million gallons of fat free, low-fat, reduced fat and whole milk.
“This purchase addresses one of our country’s significant challenges – hunger – and, at the same time, will have a positive impact on the dairy industry at a time of significant market uncertainty,” says Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.
“As many as 41 million Americans, including 13 million children, face hunger daily and are at risk of missing out on essential nutrients when they don’t have access to milk,” says Dykes. “Simply having more milk available for those in need can make a positive impact on public health.”
“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,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (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.”
Adds Mulhern: “NMPF has been sharing information with USDA about the best way to maximize the value of the farmer assistance program [to mitigate tariffs] 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.”
You can read the full USDA announcement here.
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