North Country Food Bank receives donation from Midwest Dairy to purchase cheese and butter from Bongards Premium Cheese to keep up with increased demand

Times Report

    In an effort to provide more dairy products to those currently facing food insecurity, Bongards Premium Cheese has worked with Midwest Dairy and North Country Food Bank in East Grand Forks to provide cheese and butter to help those in need. This contribution has been made possible by funding from Midwest Dairy, which is donating $500,000 to food banks in the 10 states it represents -- Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

    Food banks across the region have been seeing unprecedented need in recent weeks, setting records for daily and weekly food distribution and illuminating the urgency of new resources and avenues to connect community members with a sustainable food supply. With unemployment numbers still climbing and schools —where many children receive the majority of their daily meals — continuing to be closed, the demand is continuing to grow. As a frontline organization providing food and non-food items to our most vulnerable neighbors through our agency partners, North Country Food Bank is ramping up to expand critical services, and North Country Executive Director Susie Novak Boelter says donations like this one are invaluable.   

     Though dairy checkoff funds are not typically to be used to purchase dairy products, the USDA has approved a proposal at the request of Midwest Dairy to help meet this need and get dairy into the hands of people who need it. Bongards is among a number of other dairy processors that Midwest Dairy is connecting with food banks to match supplies with inventory needs throughout the region.

    “As a farmer and Midwest Dairy leader, I am proud of our work to make this donation possible to provide dairy products to people who otherwise may not have access to these nutrients during this challenging time,” said Allen Merrill, Midwest Dairy Corporate board chairman and a dairy farmer from Parker, South Dakota.

    Midwest Dairy is partnering with dairy processors to determine what products they have available and then will provide a list of interested processors to food banks across the Midwest that have both a need and the capacity to increase their dairy inventory and distribution.

    For more information, please visit

To further help, through donation or volunteering, please visit

About North Country Food Bank

    One of five food banks in Minnesota, North Country Food Bank is the sole distributor of surplus quality food and non-food products in northwest and west central Minnesota. It serves a 21- county area including Becker, Beltrami, Clearwater, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Otter Tail, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena, and Wilkin counties, and Grand Forks, ND. In addition, North Country serves the Anishinaabe reservations that occupy some of the same geography as these counties. These reservations include White Earth, Red Lake, and Leech Lake. Throughout its service area, North Country provides food and non-food products to its 220 partner agencies (food shelves and other non-profit organizations that address food insecurity) as well as directly to people in need.

About Bongards

    Bongards, is a farmer-owned coop with over a century of cheese-making expertise, they can meet all your cheese category needs with an assured supply chain, a broad selection, and the know-how to create products to your exact specifications.

About Midwest Dairy

    Midwest Dairy” represents 6,500 dairy farm families and works on their behalf to build dairy demand by inspiring consumer confidence in our products and production practices. We are committed to Bringing Dairy to Life! by Giving Consumers an Excellent Dairy Experience and are funded by farmers across a 10- state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri,  Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook at Midwest Dairy. For relevant conversations about issues and trends in the dairy community, listen to Dairy on the Air.