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WASHINGTON - The USDA announced this week that it will be buying up to $50 million worth of fluid milk for distribution to domestic food programs.

According to the USDA, it will use authorize the expenditure under Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) noted that the latest purchases are separate from the $12 billion trade assistance package announced in July designed to provide relief to producers suffering from retaliatory measures imposed by other countries in reaction to new U.S. import taxes.

“These purchases are part of the normal operations of administering Section 32 and are not related or associated with the authority or administration of possible purchases under Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation related to trade mitigation,” AMS officials said in a news release.

Funds will be used to purchase “consumer-friendly milk varieties such as whole, 2 percent, 1 percent and skim. AMS will buy milk from approved vendors and distribute the milk-between 12-15 million gallons.

USDA will be providing informational webinars to dairy outlets interested in selling milk to the agency through the donation program.

“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,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF in a news release. “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.”

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Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a global dairy food cooperative owned by family dairy farmers, applauds the USDA's plan.

“Hunger and poor nutrition are serious issues in this country, and we support USDA in helping to provide nutrient-rich milk for those in need,” says John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer, Dairy Farmers of America.

Wilson adds, “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.”

 

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