The federal government is planning to buy $20 million worth of cheese to cut a nationwide surplus.

The United States Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that the approximately 11 million pounds of cheese will be taken off the market after the dairy industry experienced a nearly 35 percent decrease in revenues over the past two years. The cheese will be donated to food banks across the country.

"We understand that the nation's dairy producers are experiencing challenges due to market conditions and that food banks continue to see strong demand for assistance," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. "This commodity purchase is part of a robust, comprehensive safety net that will help reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high while, at the same time, moving a high-protein food to the tables of those most in need. USDA will continue to look for ways within its authorities to tackle food insecurity and provide for added stability in the marketplace."

During an interview with AgNet West, Secretary Vilsack encouraged dairy farmers to take advantage of an extended deadline announced the same day for dairy farmers to enroll in a voluntary federal dairy safety net. The Margin Protection Program for Dairy gave out over $11 million in financial assistance earlier this month, its largest payment since the program's inception in 2014, triggered by a narrowing margin between milk and feed prices.

According to the USDA, dairy producers are struggling because of low market prices, increased milk supplies, and slowing consumer demand.

"By supporting a strong farm safety net, expanding credit options and growing domestic and foreign markets, USDA is committed to helping America's dairy operations remain successful," said Vilsack in a statement.