USDA to buy 11 million pounds of cheese to help dairy farmers

The. U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans this week to purchase 11 million pounds of cheese for $20 million, according to a news release.

The stimulus is designed to reduce a cheese surplus that is at its highest level in 30 years. The cheese will be sent to food banks and pantries across the nation.

These past two years have been tough for the dairy industry, as revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years, according to the release.

The stimulus comes in the wake of requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture from Congress, the National Farmers union, the American Farm Bureau and the National Milk Producers Federation.

However, the buyout has fallen short of some expectations. According to a news release from the National Milk Producers Federation, the group sent the U.S. Department of Agriculture a letter in August requesting a $100 to $150 million buyout.

According to this news release, milk prices are at their lowest since the Great Depression, as farmers are currently paid $14.50 per hundredweight or $1.25 per gallon.

This news comes after other initiatives by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stimulate the dairy market by extending its dairy Margin Protection Program as well as investing $11.2 million into the program in early August to aid farmers.