WACO—The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a grant of nearly $1 million to the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty for a pilot program designed to encourage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants to purchase and consume milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
“We are excited to partner with USDA to explore creative ways to reduce food and economic hardship for families in Texas and around the country,” said Jeremy Everett, executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
“Our hope is that the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive will strengthen families’ food budgets so they can get the proper nutrition they need to thrive.”
Through a cooperative agreement with the Baylor Collaborative, SNAP participants shopping at select grocery stores in Texas will receive incentives for purchasing qualifying milk.
“Making nutritious foods more accessible is a USDA priority, and we are always looking for ways to leverage innovative strategies to help achieve that goal,” said Pam Miller, administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Miller called the pilot program “a win-win for both participants’ diets and America’s dairy farmers.”
The Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive pilot was established by the 2018 Farm Bill to encourage milk consumption as part of a healthy diet. The program is expected to be fully operational by May 2021, and incentives will be tested for one year.
The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty received the $930,000 grant through a competitive process and will be partnering with South Plains Hunger Solutions Coalition and Lowe’s Supermarkets to develop and test incentives at local Food King grocery stores in Littlefield, Lubbock and San Angelo.
Once the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive is operational, shoppers using SNAP benefits at these locations to purchase qualifying fluid milk (pasteurized, unflavored and unsweetened cow’s milk —skim or 1 percent) will receive a coupon for additional free milk.
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The Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive pilot builds on the success of previous incentive programs, which have been shown to impact households’ purchasing decisions and diet. The Healthy Incentive Pilot found that SNAP participants receiving incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables consumed 26 percent more fruits and vegetables per day than those that did not receive an incentive.