WASHINGTON — Since its establishment in 1937, June Dairy Month has been an opportunity to showcase many aspects of dairy: delicious products, nutrition, and important role in our diet. The contributions of the dairy industry are abundant, from the farmers who care responsibly for their land and their animals to the economic development and livelihoods in communities worldwide. The dairy industry works hard to feed the world and ensure nutritious dairy products are accessible to all.
To increase access to dairy products and reduce food waste, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP) in August 2021. Through the DDP, eligible dairy organizations partner with non-profit feeding organizations—such as food banks, missions, and churches—that distribute food to individuals and families in need; these partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations.
Dairy farmers, cooperatives, and 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.
June Dairy Month is an excellent opportunity to learn about how the program can provide reimbursement for donations made to non-profits in your community. Participating in the DDP will help ensure that surplus dairy products are reaching those who need it most.