A group of dairy organizations wrote a letter this week to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and asked the USDA to help the struggling dairy industry. 

They want the agency to use its extensive purchasing power given to it by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security Act, to alleviate at least some of the stress on the U.S. dairy industry. 

Approximately 80 percent of Americans are under orders to shelter in their homes. That means hundreds of thousands of restaurants, schools, and other foodservice outlets have either significantly reduced their offerings or shut down. 

That means cheese and butter manufacturers have lost their largest market segments. While retail sales have increased during recent weeks, those sales are now leveling off and orders are slowing down. 

Overseas markets have been decimated. 

The letter to Secretary Perdue asks USDA to focus on purchases of nonfat dry milk, as well as cheese, including cheddar, mozzarella, and other Italian-style cheese. 

They’re also asking USDA to look at different ways they have available to make farmers whole for the milk they’ve produced, but had to dispose of, or received drastically reduced payments. 

Some of the groups signing onto the letter include the Wisconsin Cheese Makers, Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union.