Last week, to celebrate June Dairy Month, I visited Crave Brothers Farmstead in Waterloo, Wisconsin, where I toured this family farm and cheese factory, and learned about how the Crave family crafts their award-winning cheeses. In recent years, dairy farmers have faced many challenges, and USDA has been there along the way to help support dairy businesses as they drive local economies throughout the country.
One of the ways USDA invests is through the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives, which support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products. When Crave Brothers received funding from the Wisconsin Dairy Business Initiative Alliance (DBIA), one of the four DBIs located in different regions of the US, they installed a water circulation system that allows them to use less water to cool cheese and recycle the water from their farm. And now, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are now investing an additional $80 million into the DBIs to build stronger and more resilient local and regional food systems.
Department-wide, we are striving to continue to invest in rural economies and support more and better markets. To combat the oversupply of milk some dairy businesses have faced, we established the Dairy Donation Program (DDP) to facilitate the donation of dairy products to nonprofit organizations that distribute food to people in need and to minimize food waste. USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) area runs safety net programs, including the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) which covers the difference between milk and feed prices to dairy producers, especially small and mid-sized dairy operations.
As we raise a glass of milk and celebrate June Dairy Month, we at USDA value our partnership with dairy industry to support more and better markets for dairy farmers and businesses at the local, regional, national, and international marketplace.