WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2021—The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and several IDFA members today offered their support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP). The Department today released an interim final rule all but finalizing the DDP and making its $400 million funding available to eligible handlers and cooperatives. The program will ensure U.S. dairy companies are fairly compensated for donating nutritious dairy products to Americans struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, issued the following statement:
“IDFA applauds USDA for finalizing the Dairy Donation Program, making it possible for U.S. dairy companies to donate fresh, nutritious dairy products to nonprofit organizations reaching Americans struggling with hunger and food insecurity. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. dairy producers and dairy foods companies have led efforts to feed the hungry and support struggling communities. With the Dairy Donation Program announced today, USDA is providing our industry with one more tool to reach Americans in need. The dairy industry welcomes the opportunity to continue to partner with non-profits, charities, and other organizations working to combat hunger and nutrition insecurity. The Dairy Donation Program ensures high-quality, nutritious products like milk, cheese, yogurt and more will get to those who need them most, while ensuring dairy foods producers receive a fair market value for their healthy products. IDFA and our members look forward to working with USDA and the non-profit community to get this program off the ground this fall.”
Congress established the DDP in December 2020 and USDA has been working for the past several months to design the new program. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. dairy producers and dairy foods companies have been proactive about responding to hunger and supporting families in need through local food drives and charitable donations as well as federal nutrition assistance programs.
The following IDFA members offered their support for USDA’s announcement today:
Joe Diglio, President and CEO, Michigan Milk Producers Association: “The dairy farmer members of MMPA have supported milk donation efforts for several years and it is exciting to see this new program build on our established donation partnerships. As food insecurity remains a crucial area of need across the country, milk and dairy products can serve a vital role in hunger relief efforts. The program addresses this need while reducing food waste and supporting local dairy farmers.”
Jay Bryant, CEO, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.: “We praise the rollout of the Dairy Donation Program so that dairy farmers can continue to be a part of the solution for food insecurity in the U.S. In 2021, our cooperative has donated more than 1,200 gallons of milk to the communities where we farm and process our milk. This win-win program has the opportunity to help the dairy industry avoid supply chain disruptions while simultaneously helping nourish our communities.”
Jackie Klippenstein, Senior Vice President, Government, Industry and Community Relations for Dairy Farmers of America: “The Dairy Donation Program is an important step in helping to strengthen the dairy industry’s commitment to fighting hunger in a way that reduces food waste and minimizes disruption to the supply chain. We are pleased USDA is implementing this and other programs to help distribute dairy to those who need it most.”
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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 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 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.