The average American ate 37 pounds of American-made cheese in 2017, yet this country somehow still has a surplus of the fine, orange, plasticky stuff (not to mention cheddar).
In fact, America has more excess cheese than ever before. NPR reported on Wednesday that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the untasted cheese surplus has climbed to $1.4 billion pounds. I’m no economist, but that’s probably our single-payer healthcare, our Green New Deal, indeed our very future, tied up in a big, stupid cheeseball. One that, according to WBUR, equals the size of the Capitol building.
Our combined latent cheese now amounts to 900,000 cubic yards of Swiss, American, and cheddar, all languishing in cold storage. The cheese ball is 16 percent more huge than it was in 2016, when the government offered to buy $20 million of the oversupply.
Why too much cheese? Andrew Novakovic, professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University, told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that the primary conditions, as he sees it, are excess milk production, “changes in the domestic use of that milk,” and trade. Many are concerned that this problem will only worsen as the White House’s trade war with China and Mexico wears on. Already, as of September, annual cheese exports to China and Mexico were down 63 and 10 percent, respectively.