Article from Reason by Eric Boehm.

The federal government spent $22 million last year on a local development grant used, in part, to subsidize the production of Sjenica cheese—a creamy white cheese produced only in the rural highlands of southwest Serbia—with the goal of raising production standards so the cheese can be sold in the European Union and the United States. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says the project will help standardize Sjenica cheese production by teaching farmers in the region about the problems created by “questionable practices…such as adding water or baking powder to the milk or skimming the fat.”

Professionalizing Serbian cheese production might be a boon to local farmers by opening up export markets for their product, but it’s difficult to imagine why American taxpayer dollars should be directed towards that end. That’s why the item ended up in the latest edition of Sen. Rand Paul’s (R–Ky.) “Waste Report,” released Monday.

As Paul’s office points out in the report, American taxpayers and dairy farmers have another good reason to be cheesed off about the questionable spending. Right now, America is experiencing something of a cheese crisis. According to the Department of Agriculture, the United States is sitting on 1.4 billion-pound cheese surplus—largely due to an increase in dairy production and a decline in consumption of milk and cheese. The federal government has been buying up excess cheese to bail out dairy farmers—at the same time it is using tax dollars to boost production in the Balkans.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only comical way that the federal government wasted money this year.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Rand Paul) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons