Trade issues notwithstanding, the dairy industry has been seeing plenty of struggles. Many producers are having to make some tough decisions. Weekly we hear about several producers who are just deciding to give up. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying to help.
USDA has announced a plan to buy up roughly $50 million dollars’ worth of fluid milk. This amounts to an estimated 11 to 13 million gallons. USDA is trying to increase domestic consumption by moving the milk from the normal supply chain to food banks and similar programs which need milk donations but rarely get the commodity.
The USDA is using its authority under Section 32 of a depression era law known as the Agriculture Adjustment Act. This provision allows the USDA to make purchases of surplus commodities and support producers. This is the first time the USDA has made a move under this provision.
The USDA says this move has nothing to do with trade. This is a move to stabilize a commodity which is falling on hard times. The leading dairy state, Wisconsin, lost over 500 dairy farms last year.