WASHINGTON -- The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) offered its support for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP). The Department today released an interim final rule all but finalizing the DDP and making its $400 million funding available to eligible handlers and cooperatives. The program will ensure US dairy companies are fairly compensated for donating nutritious dairy products to Americans struggling with hunger and food insecurity.  

“IDFA applauds USDA for finalizing the Dairy Donation Program, making it possible for US dairy companies to donate fresh, nutritious dairy products to nonprofit organizations reaching Americans struggling with hunger and food insecurity," said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and chief executive officer of IDFA. "Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, US dairy producers and dairy foods companies have led efforts to feed the hungry and support struggling communities. With the Dairy Donation Program announced today, USDA is providing our industry with one more tool to reach Americans in need. The dairy industry welcomes the opportunity to continue to partner with non-profits, charities, and other organizations working to combat hunger and nutrition insecurity. 

"The Dairy Donation Program ensures high-quality, nutritious products like milk, cheese, yogurt and more will get to those who need them most, while ensuring dairy foods producers receive a fair market value for their healthy products. IDFA and our members look forward to working with USDA and the non-profit community to get this program off the ground this fall.” 

Congress established the DDP in December 2020 and USDA has been working for the past several months to design the new program. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, US dairy producers and dairy foods companies have been proactive about responding to hunger and supporting families in need through local food drives and charitable donations as well as federal nutrition assistance programs.