The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the establishment of a Milk Donation Reimbursement Program in accordance with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). The new program is effective September 16, 2019.
Under the program, eligible dairy organizations partner with non-profit organizations that distribute food to low-income individuals. Those partnerships may apply for and receive limited reimbursements to cover expenses related to certain fluid milk product donations.
An eligible dairy organization is a dairy farmer, either individually or as part of a cooperative, or a dairy processor that incurs qualified expenses by accounting to a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) pool for fluid milk product donations. The reimbursements will offset a portion of the raw milk cost for milk donated to food assistance programs.
Congress directed USDA to develop the program to reduce food waste and provide nutrition assistance to low-income individuals. Congress authorized $9 million for the program in Fiscal Year 2019, and $5 million per fiscal year thereafter.
Details about program eligibility and participation are available at www.ams.usda.gov/mdrp. Interested partnerships must apply for Fiscal Year 2019 and Fiscal Year 2020 program participation by submitting a separate completed Milk Donation and Distribution Plan for each fiscal year no later than November 6, 2019. Milk Donation and Distribution Plans submitted for Fiscal Year 2019 can reflect donations made from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019. After approval, partnerships will then be able to submit specific information to obtain retroactive reimbursement claims for Fiscal Year 2019. Plans for Fiscal Year 2019 and Fiscal Year 2020 will be approved by December 23, 2019.
The Federal Register notice is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/09/05/2019-19090/establishment-of-a-milk-donation-reimbursement-program.