The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced late last week that up to 50 million pounds of government-owned nonfat dry milk would be available to barter for reduced- fat cheddar, sliced yellow blend and shredded lite mozzarella cheeses. IDFA proposed the concept of bartering for cheese and other dairy products in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this year.
The government has purchased 226 million pounds of nonfat dry milk this fiscal year under the Dairy Product Price Support Program, which was reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Rather than continuing to store the nonfat dry milk at taxpayer expense, USDA is seeking bids from cheese companies that will accept the nonfat dry milk in exchange for cheese that can be used in schools and other federal feeding programs.
"We commend USDA for targeting this barter to create new and additional demand for reduced-fat cheese types that will be donated to schools and food banks across the country," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA senior director of policy and legislative affairs.
Information on the types of cheeses sought, the deliver dates and locations, and other terms and conditions are available at USDA's Dairy Operations web page. USDA must receive offers by May 27, 2009, and will notify those with accepted bids on June 3, 2009.
Deliver dates for the cheeses span from July 2009 through January 2010, and locations are in 39 states across the country. For more information, contact Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3553.