Following a roundtable discussion with dairy producers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering to purchase $20 million of cheddar cheese.
The purchase aims to reduce a private cheese surplus that has reached record levels, while assisting food banks and other food assistance recipients.
While USDA projects dairy prices to increase throughout the rest of the year, many factors including low world market prices, increased milk supplies and inventories, and slower demand have contributed to a sluggish marketplace for dairy producers and caused dairy revenues to drop 35 per cent over the past two years.
“America’s farming families are being called on to demonstrate their world-famous resourcefulness and resilience in the face of this current market downturn, and USDA is making use of every tool that we have to help them,” said Mr Vilsack.
“While our analysis predicts the market will improve for these hardworking men and women, reducing the surplus can give them extra reassurance while also filling demand at food banks and other organisations that help our nation’s families in need.”
A solicitation will be issued shortly, and cheese deliveries to food banks and other food assistance recipients are expected to occur beginning in March 2017.
Also at the roundtable, Mr Vilsack shared details of a new report by the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, which shows continued growth of the US dairy sector is largely contingent on trade and that the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could create an additional $150 to $300 million in annual US dairy exports.
Source – The Dairy Site