J. Mark Huffman

Donation Program Extended

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says USDA has extended the program to donate nonfat dry milk (NFDM) to nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations for use in meal services or for distribution to needy recipients. The extension will carry the program through the end of this month. The program, the National Nonprofit Humanitarian Initiative, was announced last year and was scheduled to end September 30. The program provides excess inventory of NFDM to about 73 organizations that in turn deliver the NFDM nationwide. USDA will provide up to an additional 10 million lbs of both instant NDM fortified with vitamins A and D, as well as non-instant and non-fortified NDM during this extended period. Since the program started in September 2003, USDA has distributed a total of 136.8 million lbs of NDM.

Dairy producers are pushing USDA to increase tariffs on butter product imports, saying import levels have more than doubled since last year. According to the National Milk Producers Federations (NMPF), butter imports are up 89% in the first seven months of 2004, fast approaching the 13,754 metric ton safeguard level. The USDA's most recent data on butter sales for the first nine months of 2004 has confirmed NMPF's concerns that imports would exceed the safeguard trigger level. According to the most recent data from USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service, butter product imports through September were 13,888 metric tons, or 101% of the safeguard level. Once total butter imports have reached the set safeguard threshold, which represents a 100% growth rate in a calendar year, the U.S. government is entitled to impose higher-than-normal tariffs on butter products.