A new Dairy Donation Program (DDP) has been announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The new $400 million program is being established by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Developed in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the program seeks to enable more efficient dairy donations to areas of need. Dairy groups will partner with non-profit organizations addressing food insecurity through the program to apply for reimbursements for eligible dairy donations.
“The benefits of the Dairy Donation Program are twofold – it supplements other financial support for producers while providing nutritious dairy products to American families,” USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh said in a press release. “When there is surplus milk production, we encourage the milk be donated instead of being dumped. Together we can help someone in need, minimize food waste and support the U.S. dairy industry.”
The program is open to dairy industry members that purchase fresh milk or bulk dairy products for processing into consumer products. Farmers, cooperatives, and other dairy organizations can be reimbursed for the cost of milk needed for donated dairy products. Some manufacturing and transportation costs are also eligible for reimbursement through the program. To apply for the program, a Dairy Donation and Distribution Plan will need to be submitted. If approved, reimbursement claims can be submitted for dairy products donated since January 1, 2020. Multiple dairy groups including the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and Michigan Milk Producers Association have expressed appreciation for the new program.
“We thank USDA leadership for their work to bring the Dairy Donation Program to fruition. This important program will help dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own to do what they do best: feed families nationwide,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Dairy stakeholders are eager to enhance their partnerships with food banks and other distributors to provide dairy products to those experiencing food insecurity, which the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated.”