This October, USDA announced plans to purchase an additional $50 million in fresh fluid milk with Section 32 authority, further increasing support to the nation’s dairy industry when uncertainty with trade and low prices have created challenges for farmers and processors, said the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of IDFA, offered the following statement: 

“On behalf of our nation’s dairy industry, the International Dairy Foods Association is grateful that the USDA announced new plans to purchase an additional $50 million in fresh fluid milk through Section 32 for distribution to food banks, as well as nutrition assistance programs. USDA’s latest package of assistance aimed at the nation’s dairy industry complements the $68 million in dairy purchases announced in July as part of the second round of much-needed trade mitigation assistance.

“This is the second consecutive year that USDA has expanded the Section 32 program to include purchases of fresh fluid milk. In 2018, USDA announced that — for the first time in the program’s history — the Department would purchase $135 million in dairy products, including fluid milk. Altogether, this recent announcement brings the total dairy purchases to $253 million over the past two years.

“IDFA is proud to partner with USDA, Feeding America and our nation’s dairy processors to continue to expand and enhance the Fresh Fluid Milk Purchase Program. Fresh milk is the most in-demand item in our nation’s food banks.

“The dairy industry, and milk processors in particular, are grateful to provide their products under this program knowing they are supplying nutritious milk to food banks and families in need. IDFA is committed to working with USDA and Feeding America to continue to make the program successful and sustainable.”