The United States Department of Agriculture has announced it will purchase $20 million worth of cheese for donations to food assistance programs. The purchases will bolster milk prices, but not to the extent farmers probably want.
The Agency also extended the sign-up deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program to December 16 for the 2017 program. The original deadline was Sept. 30.
On August 12, the National Milk Producers Federation had requested USDA purchase $100 to $150 million worth of cheese, estimating such a large purchase could pump up dairy farm income by more $200 million. Earlier that week, the American Farm Bureau Federation had requested USDA purchase $50 million worth of cheese.
Despite the lower level of purchases, NMPF expressed appreciation today. “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 patronize food banks and other charitable assistance organizations that will distribute the cheese purchased by USDA,” says Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO.
“We will continue to assess the economic situation facing dairy farmers, and suggest ways to help farmers endure this lengthy period of low prices,” he says.
By: Jim Dickrell
Source: Farm Journal’s MILK