Dairy farmers investing in food security efforts

Michigan dairy farmers are working to increase access to milk and dairy foods at local food pantries.

Kris Wardin serves on the United Dairy Industry of Michigan board of directors.

“It is one of the most requested food bank items, we just haven’t had necessarily the logistics to be able to get it there, but that has really changed over the past several years,” he says.

The St. Johns dairy farmer tells Brownfield new check-off funded grant programs allow food pantries to purchase dairy foods and also improve their distribution process.

“It’s really a program I think our dairy farmers can feel very proud of, they can feel really good about it, and I think from our feedback from our partners at the food bank, they’re so very appreciative of it,” he shares.

The program has placed more than 60 coolers in local food pantries and awarded 10 infrastructure grants and 25 dairy food grants over the past two years.

Wardin says other food security projects have provided six of the seven major food banks in the state with dedicated refrigerated trucks to help distribute dairy.

He also points to milk drives with partner organizations like Busch’s Fresh Market and Spartan Nash stores to help increase milk donations to pantries.

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