The USDA recently announced plans to purchase Fluid Milk (whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, and skim) in half gallons for distribution to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). In the current environment where The Death of Family Dairy Farms is prevalent, any new demand for dairy is critical. However, the $50 million program is a drop in the pail, relative to the overall size of the U.S. dairy market. Reaction from dairy groups was very positive. Meanwhile, healthier American children are the real beneficiaries.
The USDA Fresh Fluid Milk Purchase Program announcement was made on August 14th. Some of the key highlights include:
- Interested dairy farmers will need to make their solicitation via a web-based supply chain system.
- The contract type is anticipated to be firm-fixed price.
- Deliveries are expected to be to various locations in the United States on an FOB destination basis.
- A pre-bid conference call to discuss the pending solicitation process will be held on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 from 1-2pm EST. To join the call dial (888) 844-9904, enter access code: 1801764.
- Distribution of the milk will occur via domestic food assistance programs.
- This is announcement is unrelated to President Trump “Making It Rain” $12 billion program.
The full press release from the USDA can be found at ams.usda.gov.
Dairy Groups Applaud
A number of dairy groups reacted positively to the news. DTNPF’s Jerry Hagstrom noted in his blog post titled, “Dairy Groups Praise USDA Milk Purchase for Food Aid Programs” a number of reactions from key groups. Specifically noted, were the National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Farmers of America all praising the announcement.
Hagstrom quoted NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.
“We are pleased that USDA is now including fluid milk in the assortment of foods it is buying and donating, as milk is in high demand at food banks because of its unparalleled nutritional benefits. This effort will help more Americans meet their U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended daily consumption of milk. We appreciate this initial step and look forward to working with the department to continue building upon this effort.”
Furthermore, John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer of Dairy Farmers of America had this say.
“This purchase will offer a great benefit for those that struggle with hunger and malnutrition today. We appreciate USDA acknowledging the important part milk plays in a healthy diet and partnering with the dairy industry in getting milk to those in need across the country.”
DairyHerd also covered this development and offered additional reaction in a piece by Wyatt Bechtel titled, “Dairy Industry Welcomes USDA Purchase of $50 Million in Fluid Milk”.
Quoting Michael Dykes, President and CEO of IDFA
“As many as 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, face hunger daily and are at risk of missing out on essential nutrients when they don’t have access to milk. Simply having more milk available for those in need can make a positive impact on public health.”
“Milk is one of the most requested nutrition staples at food banks, yet it is rarely available. And as one out of two kids ages 9 and up are falling short on calcium, vitamin D and potassium – essential nutrients that milk provides – there is an even greater need to make sure milk is getting to children and families who need it most.”
While the reaction was positive and very true, often times what isn’t said is equally powerful. What was missing from the reactions was that this program would dramatically help dairy farmers. Unfortunately, despite the chorus of praise, the program amounts to increasing demand of the U.S. dairy market by 1/10th of one percent. This isn’t to say there won’t be dairy operations that benefit from this program. However, the real winners will be those who receive the milk. The benefits of milk, especially to children recipients at food banks, are very important. Every drop counts in the fight to preserve dairy farms. Let’s hope there will be many more positive developments to add to the pail.
The USDA announced the Fresh Fluid Milk Purchase Program last week. The direct purchase and distribution of fluid milk will benefit many underprivileged individuals in our country. Dairy groups were very positive about this development. While this is a small step, we remain optimistic that enough steps will be taken to stem the decline of family dairy farms across the country.
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