America might not have a budget surplus, but we have something even more exciting — a cheese surplus. Somehow, cheese enthusiasts have found themselves in an ideal situation: supply is exceeding demand. The surplus just hit 1.39 billion pounds, which is probably enough to top our pizzas through 2025.
The reason for the surplus? For a few years now, US dairy manufacturers have been producing too much milk, and excess milk gets turned into cheese to make it last longer. In 2014, dairy farmers scaled up their operations in response to high demand for powdered milk from China, and when China’s economy started to slow, American dairy producers were left with too much milk. The European Union has also made it more difficult for US cheese producers to do business abroad, so by 2016, the US had 1.2 billion pounds of extra cheese domestically.
To balance out surpluses in the past, the Department of Agriculture has bailed out dairy producers, buying up millions of dollars of excess cheese and distributing it to food banks. It remains to be seen if the same approach will be taken here.
In the meantime, we can all do our part by buying up lots and lots of cheese. Which, given our insatiable zest for cheese and collective depression over the avocado shortage, shouldn’t be too hard to do.