Senator Stabenow Applauds New Initiative to Encourage Donations of Surplus Milk to Local Food Banks

Friday, September 06, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, applauded the announcement of a new USDA grant program that encourages milk producers to partner with food banks and charities to donate surplus milk. The Milk Donation Reimbursement Program, which Senator Stabenow authored in the 2018 bipartisan Farm Bill, will make $9 million available the first year and $5 million available each year afterwards to help milk producers offset the cost of donating milk. 


“In Michigan, one in seven people struggles with hunger, and many of these people turn to food banks for emergency assistance,” said Senator Stabenow. “By making it easier for milk producers to donate their surplus milk to food banks and other outlets, this program helps needy families and reduces food waste all across Michigan.”


The Milk Donation Reimbursement Program which Senator Stabenow authored was inspired by the Michigan Milk Producers Association milk donation initiative. Since 2015, the Association in partnership with the Kroger Michigan Dairy plant has donated nearly 250,000 gallons of milk through the Food Bank Council of Michigan.


“We are pleased to see a milk donation initiative incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill and appreciate Senator Stabenow’s leadership on this effort,” said Joe Diglio, President and CEO of Michigan Milk Producers Association. “MMPA initiated a milk donation program in 2015 through collaboration with our partners, laying the groundwork for additional MMPA milk donations totaling nearly 250,000 gallons of milk. Milk is one of the most requested food bank items and we are encouraged by the Farm Bill provision to help increase the availability of milk at food banks nationwide.”

“As the dairy industry continues to confront market uncertainty, we are grateful for new tools that help get dairy products more quickly to those in need. The new Milk Donation Program in the 2018 farm bill does that, and we commend Senator Stabenow for her leadership in creating it,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation. “By helping dairy producers and cooperatives donate fluid milk to food banks and other outlets, the program helps dairy farmers feed Americans. We are pleased to see USDA roll out this initiative today, and we will do what we can to help ensure its success.”


Click here for more information about the Milk Donation Reimbursement Program.