Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday announced the purchase of $60 million in cheese and cheese products by the Commodity Credit Corporation for use in domestic feeding programs through USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is expediting the cheese purchase to help provide much-needed support for low-income families struggling to put nutritious food on their tables in addition to assisting dairy farmers challenged by high feed costs and low dairy prices.
“This purchase will provide food to people in need, while helping dairy producers who are facing economic challenges,” Vilsack said. Along with providing market benefits for U.S. dairy producers, commodity purchases such as the $60 million announced on Friday provide much-needed food aid—in the form of high-protein cheese—to food banks across the nation.
The cheese purchase is the second of two steps announced by USDA last week to utilize $350 million authorized in the fiscal 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Act. The Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Program will provide $290 million for one-time payments to eligible producers.