The National Milk Producers Federation wanted the government to buy $100 million to $150 million in cheese.
Dairy producers have had trouble making money recently, as overseas buyers have stopped purchasing from the USA due to the high dollar and more milk production in Europe, the Journal reported. And with a Russian embargo of European cheese, Europe has had to slash prices in their exports to the U.S., which has further flooded the market with cheap varieties and driven the prices of American cheeses down as well.
The USDA claims that our cheese surplus has hit at an all-time high over the past 30 years and that the market is saturated with 1.3 billion pounds of cheddar, Swiss, and parmesan.
The move comes as US cheese producers struggle with an oversupply problem and prices that have fallen more than 35 percent in the past two years.
"By supporting a strong farm safety net, expanding credit options and growing domestic and foreign markets, USDA is committed to helping America's dairy operations remain successful", Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
One of the problems for dairy farmers in California-the largest USA milk-producing state-is a Chinese slowdown in imports.
The cheese stockpile will be used to assist food banks across the nation as part of the USDA nutrition assistant programs.
The massive cheese purchase comes more than two weeks after the USDA announced more than $11 million in government assistance to the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which provides a safety net to dairy producers.
The USDA's action follows a bipartisan letter Courtney, a Democrat from the 2nd district, signed a few weeks ago asking USDA to take action to aid dairy producers struggling with declining milk prices. Over 1,200 American dairy farms shut down previous year, out of a total around 43,000. The sluggish marketplace is the result of too much milk and too few buyers, especially overseas, and cheese-makers' revenues have slipped 35 percent since 2014 as a result.