The U.S. government is about to take care of America’s massive cheese problem.
The USDA is buying 11 million pounds—$20 million worth—of cheese to combat a 3o-year high cheese surplus which has led to a stalled marketplace and a 35% drop in revenues for dairy producers. This is the largest payment since the program started two years ago, the USDA reports.
The cheese will be distributed to food banks across the country and “provided to families in need across the country through USDA nutrition assistance programs,” according to the USDA.
See also: The U.S. Is Facing a Cheese Overload
The surplus led Congress, the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau, and the National Milk Producers Federation to request that the USDA make the purchase.
“We understand that the nation’s dairy producers are experiencing challenges due to market conditions and that food banks continue to see strong demand for assistance,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
He continued: “This commodity purchase is part of a robust, comprehensive safety net that will help reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high while, at the same time, moving a high-protein food to the tables of those most in need. USDA will continue to look for ways within its authorities to tackle food insecurity and provide for added stability in the marketplace.”
This isn’t the first time the U.S. has reported a growing cheese-surplus problem. In April, cheese stockpiles were the highest since 1984—with more than half of it made up of American cheese.
Although the USDA projects dairy prices will increase throughout the rest of the year, low world market prices, increased milk production, and a slower demand have all contributed to the current surplus and resulting stagnant marketplace for dairy producers.
“By supporting a strong farm safety net, expanding credit options and growing domestic and foreign markets, USDA is committed to helping America’s dairy operations remain successful,” said Vilsack.
The USDA reported that it will continue to monitor market conditions and will evaluate additional actions if need be.