Agriculture groups and the dairy industry are praising the Agriculture Department’s announcement to reduce surplus cheese stocks in the U.S., a move requested by the American Farm Bureau and others. USDA this week announced it would purchase approximately 11 million pounds of cheese from private inventories and donate the product to food banks and pantries across the nation. The purchase, valued at $20 million, should reduce some downward pressure on dairy markets as dairy producer’s revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says the announcement will “help alleviate the tough realities of the market and keep family farmers in business.” Farm Bureau and the National Milk Producers Federation had asked USDA to spend more than $20 million on the purchases, but USDA cited budget restraints, limiting the purchase amount. Vilsack also further extended the signup period for the dairy industry safety net—the Margin Protection Program—through December 16th.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talked with AgNet West News Director Sabrina Hill to explain the programs. Read USDA’a announcement and hear Secrertary Vilsack’s comments to Sabrina here.
Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF issued a statement immediately following the announcement from Secretary Vilsack. Read Mulhern’s comments here.