The co-op aims to raise US $500,000 (£400,000), of which $200,000 (£160,000) has already been secured through its DFA Cares Foundation. The initiative adds to other actions by the co-op to support vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as drive-by milk giveaways at schools and donating fluid milk directly to food banks.
“As dairy farmers, we are proud of the role we play in feeding families, and in times like these when so many are struggling, we feel passionately about doing all we can to help,” said Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri, and chair of DFA’s board of directors.
“Food banks are always in need of dairy products, which are less commonly donated because of how perishable they are. Initiatives like this that allow us to get our highly nutritious milk and dairy products into the hands of people who need them are essential right now. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
DFA will provide funding to food banks in 30 communities across the country. Farmer owners have also been asked to help identify other rural communities needing dairy products for distribution.
“Hunger is a critical, ongoing need throughout America,” said Jackie Klippenstein, senior vice president of government, industry and community relations. “In times of crisis, that need is even greater. Even in times of uncertainty and increasing challenges, our farm families and employees remain steadfast in their commitment to making an impact in the communities where we live and work.”
A decline in foodservice demand because of the Covid-19 outbreak has led to a milk surplus, and DFA is working with other industry leaders and milk processors to come up with initiatives on how to distribute it. It has teamed up with Daisy Brand to donate 120,000 pounds of cottage cheese over a six-week period to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and other local food banks throughout Ohio.
Another partnership with American Dairy Association North East and local Dean Foods plants in New York and Pennsylvania saw it provide more than 36,000 half-gallon jugs of milk to City Harvest in Brooklyn, N.Y., Share Food Program in Philadelphia, Pa., and Rolling Harvest in Highstown, N.J., and more than 4,000 gallon jugs to Corinth Central School District in Corinth, N.Y.
Donations to the Farmers Feeding Families Fund can be made online or by sending check made payable to DFA Cares Foundation.