IDFA’s Dykes on the new US food purchase programme

Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the US International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), gave video comments to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a food purchase and distribution programme to succeed the Farmers to Families Food Box Program created in 2020 recently. He advocated for dairy products to remain a primary component of USDA’s food purchase programme for their unparalleled health benefits, and he provided recommendations to the department on crafting a programme that does not distort dairy markets.

“Dairy products were a key part of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and should remain a primary component of the new USDA food distribution programme, given dairy’s unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages,” says Dykes.

Dykes noted that dairy is one of the core elements of the healthy dietary patterns recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. He said dairy is a unique and nutritionally dense food group that is under-consumed by 90% of Americans, and that dairy provides 11 essential nutrients, including protein, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and iodine and three of the four under-consumed nutrients of concern in the DGA: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.

Dykes also provided recommendations to USDA to ensure dairy markets are not distorted by the government purchase programme.

“IDFA also recommends that USDA include a wide variety of dairy products from among all classes of milk in the new programme. Providing different types of dairy products will broaden the appeal of the program to more Americans with different tastes and palates. In addition, requiring diversity in dairy products would minimise the likelihood of market distortion going forward because a broader swath of products will be purchased instead of those in just one or two segments.”

Finally, Dykes urged USDA to spread out dairy purchases over the expected life of the new programme. “Balancing the timing of dairy product purchases over the duration of the program will minimise spikes in the dairy futures markets that inevitably lead to increased market volatility.” The full transcript of Dykes’s remarks can be found here.

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