Dairy farmers worry about WIC changes

WASHINGTON - The government wants to update its nutrition program for low-income families to encourage healthier food choices, but that could hurt the financial health of dairy farmers and other producers.
calendar icon 2 December 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
The Agriculture Department's proposal would add fruits, vegetables and whole grains, covering the extra cost by purchasing less milk, cheese, eggs and juice for the Women, Infants and Children program.

According to estimates by the department, sales of milk through the WIC program would be reduced from $906 million to $677 million, and sales of cheese would be reduced from $420 million to $253 million.

Agriculture Department statistics show that purchases through the WIC program account for 6 percent of annual U.S. milk sales and 3 percent of cheese sales.

The WIC program, which helps feed more than half the babies born in the U.S., provides vouchers or food checks for purchases worth around $35 a month.

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