FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it will purchase 11 to 13 million gallons of milk from dairy farmers for $50 million and distribute it to food banks across the nation.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles called it “a much-needed shot in the arm for the dairy industry.”
“This purchase will provide fresh, nutritious milk to families in need,” he said. “It also will provide a cushion for dairy farm families as we work together to address major structural changes in the dairy industry and chart a course going forward.”
The announcement follows the award of a $30,000 grant from The Dairy Alliance, a nonprofit dairy promotion organization funded by dairy farm families of the southeastern United States, to God’s Pantry Food Bank in May for the purchase of milk coolers for four affiliate food pantries.
“Milk is one of the most requested items at food banks, but food bank clients receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year,” said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks while thanking Secretary Sonny Perdue and Quarles for their support.
The grant was awarded in conjunction with The Dairy Alliance’s Milk 2 My Plate program and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative.
Quarles unveiled the Kentucky Hunger Initiative two years ago to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, and government entities to look for ways to reduce hunger in Kentucky.