While the U.S. is currently swimming in cheese — which never feels like a bad thing from the consumer side — things are not so tasty for dairy industry right now. Grub Street reports that the U.S. has a billion pounds of surplus cheese that is just waiting for a buyer. Cheese is known to get better with age, but this type of aging isn’t good for the industry. Too much supply means less cheese needs to be made in later years. It could cause an industry crash.
So what to do when your industry might bottom out? Hope that the federal government helps out! On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture purchased 11 million pounds of cheese for $20 million, which will then go to pantries and food banks throughout the U.S. It’s a great sign to see that this valuable cheese is not going to waste. But the cheese market as a whole may be affected as a slow market, too much milk and fewer buyers are impacting revenue, which has seen a 35 percent dip since 2014.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the bailout is part of a plan to sustain success for the industry down the road:
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. 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.
Hopefully, this won’t impact the number of wine-and-cheese parties or Sunday Funday outings. It sure looks like the government is not only doing its best to help the dairy industry, but those in need will reap the benefits as well. That’s a win-win if there ever was one.
(Via Grub Street)