The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced plans to buy approximately 11 million pounds of cheese for $20 million dollars from a stockpile created by falling demand for dairy. “The USDA wants to demonstrate that it’s there for dairy,” Marion Bozic, an economist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, said. The bailout will be issued by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who received a petition from dairy lobbyists asking for $150 million in emergency financial relief. In addition to the $11.2 million in subsidies the USDA paid to dairy producers this month, the government agency bolstered the fledgling industry with $5.6 billion in subsidies from 1994 to 2014. Meanwhile, the global dairy-alternative market was recently predicted to exceed $35 billion by 2024, with the United States expected to increase its dairy alternative consumption by 10 percent in the next eight years.
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