1. Agriculture World

USDA Launches Dairy Donation Program (DDP)

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Dairy Farm

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has introduced a $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP). The DDP, which was formed by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service in line with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that intends to reduce food waste by facilitating timely dairy product contributions. 

Earlier, in view of current pandemic situation, USDA announced investment of $1 Billion in order to purchase Healthy Food for Food Insecure Americans and Build Food Bank Capacity. The investment also include $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding, in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to support and expand the emergency food network so food banks and local organisations can reliably serve their communities. 

Under the DDP, qualified dairy companies will collaborate with charitable feeding groups to provide meals to low-income individuals and families. These organisations can apply for and receive compensation for some of the costs associated with donating qualifying dairy products. 

The Dairy Donation Program has two benefits: it enhances existing financial help for producers while also delivering healthful dairy products to American families,” Deputy Secretary, Bronaugh explained. “When there is a surplus of milk, we urge it to be given rather than dumped. We can aid someone in need, reduce food waste, and promote the dairy sector in the United States by working together.” 

DDP was motivated in part by donations made in response to the Flint water crisis by the Michigan Milk Producers Association and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. In a conference call with reporters, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., joined Bronaugh, dairy producers, and a representative from Feeding America. 

Dairy farm families and food banks in Michigan continue to set an example. I am pleased with their participation in launching this program, which has now become a national model,” Stabenow added. When asked if this and other types of pandemic help might be included in the farm bill baseline in order to increase budget authority for the 2023 agriculture bill, Stabenow responded, "I always welcome additional baseline." 

Bronaugh told reporters that “Michigan is on every page” of the program. He further pointed out that, unlike past initiatives, this one covers additional dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. 

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service will manage the initiative, and further information may be obtained on their website. The initiative was hailed by both the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation. 

IDFA applauds USDA for completing the Dairy Donation Program, allowing U.S. dairy firms to contribute fresh, healthy dairy products to charity groups serving Americans dealing with hunger and food insecurity. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, American dairy producers and dairy product corporations have been at the forefront of efforts to feed the poor and assist underserved areas. USDA's announcement of the Dairy Donation Program today gives our business even another opportunity to reach out to Americans in need. The dairy sector looks forward to continuing to collaborate with non-profits, charities, and other groups fighting poverty and malnutrition”, stated IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes. 

We appreciate USDA leadership for their work to bring the Dairy Donation Program to fruition,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “This critical initiative will assist dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own in doing what they do best: feeding families across the country. Dairy industry stakeholders are keen to strengthen their relationships with food banks and other distributors in order to offer dairy products to people who are hungry, which the COVID-19 epidemic has further exacerbated”, he added. 

Feeding America applauds today's announcement establishing the Dairy Donation Program, which has the potential to link millions of extra pounds of dairy donations through food banks to the people we serve,” said Vince Hall, interim chief government relations officer at Feeding America. 

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