The USDA is buying milk and giving it to food banks

Mitchell Hartman Aug 17, 2018
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Oatly, the Swedish maker of oat milk, will start selling shares to the public on Thursday, in an offering expected to value the company at $10 billion. The market for milk substitutes has been growing rapidly, with Nestle just releasing its own version made from peas. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

The USDA is buying milk and giving it to food banks

Mitchell Hartman Aug 17, 2018
Oatly, the Swedish maker of oat milk, will start selling shares to the public on Thursday, in an offering expected to value the company at $10 billion. The market for milk substitutes has been growing rapidly, with Nestle just releasing its own version made from peas. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images
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For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy up milk from dairy farmers – $50 million worth. It’ll go to soup kitchens and food banks to help people in need. But the program also has another purely economic purpose: to help America’s struggling dairy producers. U.S. milk consumption has fallen more than 4 percent since last year, driven in part by shifting consumer preferences. Think of all those non-dairy milks, like almond and cashew, crowding store shelves. 

Agricultural economist Daniel Sumner at the University of California, Davis said the purchase is only a drop in the bucket. 

“How much can you move the needle on price buying one-tenth-of-one percent of milk?” Sumner said. “Not very much.” 

Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

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