On May 23, under pressure from Congress to do more to help American farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unrolled a $177 million package allocated to food purchases. Within that package, $20 million has been earmarked for the purchase of cheddar cheese.
These funds are a step forward in helping Americans facing economic difficulties. USDA will purchase products from farmers and producers to be used in federal nutrition assistance programs, also helping families in need.
Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, states the package will “ensure timely purchases for federal nutrition programs, and deliver value for the American taxpayer through safe and affordable American made products.” Describing it as a “more proactive approach,” the purchase of these foods will create a higher demand which will benefit participating farmers and producers directly.
Looking ahead to the future, USDA will monitor market conditions and evaluate a consistent process for deciding when to make these purchases. The following initial allocations were announced:
• $25 million for pork products
• $25 million for tart cherries
• $22 million for dried peas
• $20 million for cheddar cheese
• $18 million for clingstone peaches
• $15.5 million for processed tomatoes
• $12 million for dried plums
• $11 million for dried pinto beans
These purchases will support the National School Lunch Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.