Three Idaho mining companies and Western States Caterpillar have made a combined $12,000 donation in support of a dairy industry program that makes butter and cheese for area food banks from surplus milk.
Itafos Conda in Soda Springs, Integra Resources in Owyhee County, Midas Gold Idaho in Donnelly and Western States Caterpillar, contributed to Dairy West’s Curds + Kindness program. They’ve dubbed their donation “Mining & Milking.”
The Dairy West initiative started in June, purchasing raw milk that would otherwise go to waste due to lost demand amid the COVID-19 crisis. The program identifies processing plants with the capacity to make it into butter and cheese and then buys the production to donate to Idaho food banks.
Dairy West has estimated the program has put nearly 200,000 gallons of milk that would otherwise have been dumped to good use, helping people in need in the process.
“This pandemic has hit a lot of families in Idaho and we have seen how tough it has been on the Idaho dairy industry,” Tim Vedder, vice president of operations and general manager at Itafos Conda, said in a press release. “Our business is founded on supporting farmers and we don’t believe that stops in the fields but in our milking sheds and ranches too. Agriculture drives our state’s economy, and this is a great program to help ensure money from Idaho stays in Idaho.”
The Curds + Kindness program has already distributed dairy products purchased with the Mining & Milking donation to food banks in Cascade, Donnelly, New Meadows, Riggins, Marsing, Montpelier and Soda Springs.
“This is the Idaho way and we are happy to be finding a quick solution that benefits not only the communities where our mines are located but all throughout the state,” Tom Jordan, project operations at Integra Resources, said in the press release. “We’ve been delivering groceries to vulnerable people for weeks, so we jumped at the chance to take that giving to the next level with this program.”