Wisconsin farmers are applauding new efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address a national surplus of milk.

The agency announced Tuesday it will purchase $50 million worth of milk and distribute it through their Emergency Food Assistance Program. The purchase will be made in half gallons of skim, 1 percent, 2 percent and whole milk.

The USDA has used similar buys in the past to improve prices, typically purchasing cheese or butter.

But John Holevoet, director of government affairs for the Dairy Business Association, said this is the first time the agency has bought fluid milk through the program.

"By purchasing whole milk at least, they can take not just the milk, but also the component parts of the market all at once," Holevoet said. "By purchasing cheese, they might still have other component parts would be out there on the market. So, maybe they're thinking it's a way to try to influence the market as much as possible. Get the most bang for their buck."

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