The U.S. Government to Purchase 11 Million Pounds of Cheese

published Aug 24, 2016
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Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it plans to purchase about 11 million pounds of cheese to assist in the dairy surplus and help food banks and families in need. The cheese purchase is valued at $20 million dollars.

According to this press release, the dairy surplus is the highest it’s been in 30 years. As Slate explained earlier this summer, this is in large part due to U.S. losing sales to Europe, where the milk is considerably cheaper and the falling Euro makes exports more desirable.

In the press release, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that “This commodity purchase is part of a robust, comprehensive safety net that will help reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high while, at the same time, moving a high-protein food to the tables of those most in need.”

In addition to the cheese purchase, the USDA said it will continue to help dairy farmers in other ways. They have extended the deadline for dairy farmers to enroll in Margin Protection Program (MMP) — originally it was September 30, but it has been extended to December 16, 2016. According to the press release, the MMP provides financial assistance to dairy farmers when “the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.”