WASHINGTON, July 30, 2020—Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s award of nearly $1 million to the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to implement the new pilot program designed to encourage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase and consume milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
“IDFA is so pleased to see the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive program take flight through this important partnership between USDA and the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. Today, more than 43 million people receive critical assistance through the SNAP program, with the number of food insecure Americans growing each day due to the pandemic. IDFA has been instrumental in working with anti-hunger champions in Congress and USDA to create the SNAP incentive program. HFMI provides incentives to SNAP recipients to purchase and consume more healthy, nutritious fluid milk. Roughly 43% of SNAP households have children, and IDFA wants to remove barriers so participants and their children can get at least the minimum number of daily dairy servings recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As the American Academy of Pediatrics has found, dairy products play an important role in the diet of children. In fact, milk is the leading food source of three of the four nutrients of public health concern—calcium, vitamin D, and potassium—as well as the number one protein source in the diets of American children. Milk is a super food for people of all ages, and the HFMI program is designed to put more healthy milk on the tables of Americans in need.
“According to USDA, through a cooperative agreement with the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, SNAP participants shopping at select grocery stores in Texas will receive incentives for purchasing qualifying milk. The program is expected to be fully operational by May 2021, and incentives will be tested for one year. IDFA applauds USDA for employing innovative techniques to help make nutritious foods more accessible for low-income Americans in partnership with an esteemed organization in the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
“IDFA also thanks bipartisan champions in Congress for creating the HFMI program in the 2018 Farm Bill to encourage consumption of milk, which is part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet as described in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The HFMI pilot builds on the success of previous incentive programs, which have been shown to impact households’ purchasing decisions and diet.
“As Congress considers the appropriations bills to fund USDA programs in the next fiscal year, IDFA strongly encourages Congress to significantly increase the level of funding beyond the current $1 million for this important program. As a bipartisan effort embraced by Congress and the Administration, the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive program is a ray of light in our battle against food insecurity and undernutrition.”
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.