USDA uses Michigan model for dairy donations


USDA uses Michigan model for dairy donations

The USDA and chair of the Senate Ag Committee have announced details of a $400 million dairy donation program.

Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh says the program uses pandemic assistance to reimburse dairy processors and handlers for milk donations made, retroactive to January 2020. “It reduces food waste, makes sure farmers are paid for the food they produce, and provides nutritious dairy products to American families,” she explains.

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan tells Brownfield the program expands a pilot created in the 2018 Farm Bill modeled after Michigan Milk Producers Association donated tens of thousands of gallons of excess milk during the Flint water crisis. “Because of what’s happened, and of course what we’ve seen on supply chain breakdowns and the tremendous need for families, we expanded it in the COVID package,” she says.

Michigan Milk Producers Association has donated more than a quarter-million gallons of milk to feeding programs since a partnership was formed with food banks.  President and CEO Joe Diglio says the Dairy Donation Program will support dairy farmers struggling with extremely volatile prices and processors to cover costs associated with donated products. “I think everyone in the dairy industry wants to serve the betterment of American people and know that dairy is a huge nutritional product that can do that,” he says.

The National Milk Producers Federation says they championed for the program with lawmakers and the provision covering the cost of processing is a significant enhancement from the previous dairy donation program.

The International Dairy Foods Association and several dairy companies are also applauding the announcement.