Hunger Task Force Will Distribute $1M in Dairy Products Locally
The organization will support struggling dairy farmers and local food pantries.
The Wisconsin dairy industry is partnering with a Milwaukee-based food bank to distribute milk to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The program will purchase milk and other products from processors in the state and distribute them to local food pantries.
“Simultaneously, the Hunger Task Force was receiving a great many donations from the general community to address hunger during the pandemic. And we thought that we should use those resources and dedicate them to Wisconsin farmers,” Tussler said.
She said the Hunger Task Force saw a 60 percent increase in demand for food in March, with most of their partner food pantries requesting emergency orders of food.
Patrick Geoghegan is executive vice president of industry relations for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. He said his organization will help connect the Hunger Task Force to dairy processors in the state.
The program already has plans to purchase milk from Kemps, which has a plant in Cedarburg.
Geoghegan said he also hopes to bring in other kinds of dairy products.
“In my calls to the food banks, I hear consistently that they’d love to have butter, and they can never get enough yogurt or cottage cheese,” Geoghegan said.
He said half of the cheese produced in Wisconsin is used by the food service industry, which has largely been closed down as a way to stop of the spread of the new coronavirus.
DATCP Interim Secretary Randy Romanski said his department will help connect different players in the processing industry to meet the program’s demand.
“We know who can help move fluid product from place to place, and we connect those people together,” Romanski said.
He said the agency is not providing funding or helping to choose processors to participate.
Romanski said the pandemic has created a “substantial change” to the way dairy products are being consumed. He said the short-term loss in demand could create lasting damage to the state’s supply chain.
“The key with a program like this or if and when the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) brings additional purchasing power to bear, is that it keeps product moving through the supply chain,” Romanski said. “That product finds its way so that when the economy continues to respond and then recover, the systems are in place.”
He said his agency has already requested USDA help to relieve the oversupply by purchasing dairy products for food assistance programs.
Tussler said the Hunger Task Force also hopes to work with DATCP to create similar programs for other Wisconsin commodities, like potatoes and cranberries.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Hunger Task Force Commits To Buying Up To $1M In Dairy Products For Food Pantries was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
- WI Daily: 350 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Mar 5th, 2021
- DHS and Laboratory Partners Identify Variant Strain B.1.351 of SARS-CoV-2 in Wisconsin - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Mar 5th, 2021
- State Vaccine Hotline Up and Running - Graham Kilmer - Mar 5th, 2021
- County Targeting Vulnerable ZIP Codes for Vaccine - Graham Kilmer - Mar 5th, 2021
- Ron Johnson Pushes Conspiracies Ahead of Possible Third Term - Shawn Johnson - Mar 5th, 2021
- Gov. Evers, DHS Announce 1 Million Wisconsinites Have Received at Least One Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 5th, 2021
- Evers Proposes COVID-19 Child Care Aid - Laurel White - Mar 4th, 2021
- WI Daily: 677 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Mar 4th, 2021
- MKE County: COVID-19 No Longer Declining in Milwaukee - Graham Kilmer - Mar 4th, 2021
- Gov. Evers to Visit DHS Community-Based Vaccination Clinic in La Crosse County on Opening Day - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 4th, 2021
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here