New legislation would expand dairy pilot program

Legislation in the House and Senate would expand a dairy nutrition pilot program that is helping families get better nutrition through the SNAP program. 

Matt Herrick with the International Dairy Foods Association tells Brownfield the Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program is currently being tested in six states and 150 grocery stores.  He says it’s an expansion of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Program in the 2018 Farm Bill.  “When they go to the grocery store with their SNAP benefits and they buy a gallon of skim milk or 1% milk for example, they can then get a coupon and reimburse another, you know, if they bought three dollars in milk they could get three dollars more in milk, it was a dollar-for-dollar match program. 

Herrick says the legislation would expand the match to include more dairy products and it would make 10 million dollars a year in funding mandatory, and not subject to the yearly appropriations process, providing more food security to SNAP participants. 

Herrick says only about 10% of Americans are consuming enough dairy products, and by passing the Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program, it would incentivize healthier food purchases.  “We can all eat a little healthier, that’s for sure. We know that incentives work because they have worked very effectively for fruit and vegetable programs. 

The legislation was introduced in the House by Democrat Jim Costa of California and Republican Nick Langworthy of New York.  A companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Roger Marshall of Kansas.  Herrick is hoping the bill gets attached to the 2023 farm bill package. 

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