The government cheese phenomenon and the American cheese stockpile today
February 16, 2019 at 08:05 AM EST
The U.S. has too much cheese — 1.4 billion pounds to be exact. In the 1980s, the USDA stepped in to help control volatile milk prices. Farmers started making way too much milk, which was turned into way too much cheese. At least 30 million pounds of it was distributed through nutrition assistance programs, and suddenly a block of surplus dairy product became a neatly packaged symbol of economic status known as "government cheese."