The National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council and the International Dairy Foods Association jointly urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to use all tools at his disposal to “ensure high-quality, nutritious U.S. dairy products are made available to our international neighbors in need.”
Dairy farmers are facing some of the steepest losses of all major U.S. agricultural producers — potentially $8.2 billion, based on a comparison of current USDA projections with pre-crisis estimates, the organizations noted. U.S. dairy supplies available for international distribution remain ample, making targeted food-aid shipped worldwide a promising avenue for helping populations struggling with localized hunger and the coronavirus crisis.
“As a nation, we are blessed to have an abundance of dairy available, even during this difficult time,” wrote Jim Mulhern, Tom Vilsack and Michael Dykes — the respective presidents and CEOs of the three leading U.S. dairy organizations, in the letter dated May 18. “Taking steps to share that abundance with the world will provide a lifeline for regions where food is needed while supplying an additional outlet for American farmers to share their abundance of dairy products. We encourage a focus in particular on countries that have indicated a food or nutrition deficit in their country during these times and that lack the infrastructure or resources to reliably deliver dairy supplies through robust commercial channels.”
Additional resources on how the dairy community is meeting the coronavirus challenge — and how it can be effectively assisted — can be found at www.nmpf.org/coronavirus.