Statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA President and CEO, on USDA Decision to End Farmers to Families Food Box Program

WASHINGTON — Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box Program:

“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program represented an innovative approach to tackling what was a massive issue last Spring – finding a way to use existing food service distribution capacity to deliver nutritious dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and meat to people in need. While we’re optimistic about the positive trajectory of COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, and the relative normalcy returning to restore our economy, millions of Americans continue to face hunger and nutrition insecurity.

“Dairy has a vital role to play in meeting the nutritional needs of Americans, especially in this time of great need. Dairy is a unique and nutritionally dense food group that is under-consumed by 90 percent of Americans according to the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and it provides eleven 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. Because dairy products are so nutrient-dense, they deliver more nutrients for fewer dollars in federal nutrition programs.

“IDFA looks forward to working with USDA on further bolstering of the U.S. nutrition safety net through SNAP, TEFAP, and other important programs to ensure families struggling with hunger and malnutrition continue to receive the unique nutritional benefits of dairy products.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.