WASHINGTON, July 22, 2022—Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released the following statement today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that the department will provide schools and child care providers with increased funding to continue to serve kids healthy meals in the upcoming school year.
“USDA’s actions announced today will pump an additional $4.3 billion into school and child care meals this school year through substantial increases to free/reduced-price lunch and breakfast reimbursements. This funding is vital to ensuring the professionals working in these settings can continue to serve nutritious milk and other nutritious dairy foods that contribute to the growth, development, healthy immune function, and overall wellness of our children.
“IDFA applauds USDA for taking the significant boost in funding provided by the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act and adding what resources they could to truly bolster the balance sheets of school meals professionals dealing with inflationary pressures. IDFA is once again grateful to leaders in the U.S. House and Senate—Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Ranking Member John Boozman of Arkansas from the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry along with House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott of Virginia and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx of North Carolina—who secured passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act and thereby made this USDA action achievable.
“U.S. dairy is committed to playing a proactive role in enhancing access to nutritious foods for kids, in particular where the nutrition gap is deepest for our nation’s most vulnerable and underserved individuals.”
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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. 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.