The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the establishment of a $400 million Dairy Donation Program. The DDP, established by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, aims to facilitate timely dairy product donations while reducing food waste.
This is part of the $6 billion of pandemic assistance announced by USDA in March and follows last week’s announcement of $350 million Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program for dairy farmers. It is the second part of an over $2 billion comprehensive package to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic and improve or establish programs to make it more resilient to future challenges.
Under the DDP, eligible dairy organizations will partner with non-profit feeding organizations that distribute food to individuals and families in need. Those partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations.
Dairy farmers, cooperatives, or processors that purchase fresh milk or bulk dairy products to process into retail-packaged dairy products and meet other requirements are eligible to participate. Costs reimbursed through the program include the cost of milk used to make the donated eligible dairy product and some of the manufacturing and transportation costs. Reimbursement of these costs is designed to help offset some of the costs associated with processing and donating eligible dairy products.
Program details are available at www.ams.usda.gov/ddp. Interested partnerships must apply by completing and submitting a Dairy Donation and Distribution Plan. Upon plan approval, partnerships will be able to submit claims and supporting documentation to obtain reimbursement for eligible dairy products donated since January 1, 2020.