USDA to purchase $20M in surplus cheese

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In Wisconsin, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase $20 million of cheddar cheese to reduce a private cheese surplus that has reached record levels, while assisting food banks and other food assistance recipients.

While USDA projects dairy prices to increase throughout the rest of the year, many factors including low world market prices, increased milk supplies and inventories, and slower demand have contributed to a sluggish marketplace for dairy producers and caused dairy revenues to drop 35 percent over the past two years. Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935 authorizes USDA to purchase surplus food to benefit food banks and families in need through its nutrition assistance programs.

A solicitation will be issued shortly, and cheese deliveries to food banks and other food assistance recipients are expected to occur beginning in March 2017.