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Special Milk Program (SMP)


The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools, child care institutions, and summer camps that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal service programs. The program reimburses sponsors for the milk they serve.

Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs also may participate in the SMP to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs. There is no federal requirement that free milk is provided.

SFAs can choose to operate any one of the three SMP Pricing Options below.

Nonpricing Plan

Milk is not sold to children, but milk is provided without charge or included in tuition or boarding fees or paid by private donation or endowment. 



Pricing Plan

Milk will not be provided free to children eligible for free milk; all children will be charged the same price and in accordance with the appropriate policy statement. 

Pricing Plan with Free Milk Option

Milk will be provided free to children eligible for free milk in accordance with the appropriate policy statement, and children not eligible for free milk will pay the established price. 


Use the template SMP Household Letter to communicate program information to households.

Counting and Claiming

Determining the Cost Per Half-Pint of Milk for the Claim for Reimbursement 

To determine the cost per half-pint, divide the total dollar cost of all milk purchased during the claiming month by the number of half-pints of milk purchased. If milk is purchased in bulk, the number of ½ pint equivalents must be calculated by multiplying the number of gallons purchased by 16. The cost figure should be carried to four decimal places, for example $0.2348.  


Reimbursement Rates

Financial Management 

  • Financial records must be kept to document SMP revenue and expenditures.  Funds must be utilized to provide milk at no cost or at a low cost to children.  


All SFAs participating in the SMP must meet federal procurement (purchasing) requirements by documenting efforts to maximize open and free competition. SFAs must document informal procurement attempts to obtain a minimum of three price quotes if annual purchases for SMP are under the federal simplified acquisition threshold of $250,000. Note, your SFA may have a lower threshold that you must abide by.

Formal procedures (Invitation for Bids or Requests For Proposal) may be used for any product and/or service that exceeds the $250,000 threshold (or your lower SFA threshold).

SFAs may also utilize micro-purchasing for products or services if the transaction amount does not exceed $10,000. Purchases costing less than the micro-purchase threshold can be awarded without soliciting competitive price quotes if the price is reasonable. To the extent practicable, purchases must be distributed equitably among qualified suppliers with reasonable prices. This distribution of purchases among qualified suppliers can happen in one of two ways; at the time of the purchase or over several purchasing events. For example, a school procuring milk may purchase from various suppliers at the same time (the total of the purchases cannot exceed $10,000) or choose one supplier for the purchase of the milk and another supplier the next time milk needs to be purchased (each of the purchases cannot exceed $10,000). Ways to verify the reasonableness of a price is to compare previous purchases, have personal knowledge of the item being purchased, or compare to similar items being purchased.

Records still need to be kept for all purchases regardless of the procurement method used, including micro-purchases. Examples of solicitation documents for milk bids, along with other milk procurement resources, can be found on the Milk and Dairy Procurement webpage.

An online procurement training series for SFAs is available and includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to Procurement
  • Micro Purchase Method
  • Small Purchase Method

As a reminder, all milk served and claimed in the SMP must be fat-free milk, low-fat (1%) milk, fat-free or low-fat lactose reduced milk, fat-free or low-fat lactose-free milk, fat-free or low-fat buttermilk, or fat-free or low-fat acidified milk. Fluid milk must be served . It may be unflavored, or flavored for those in Kindergarten and older. There is no requirement that a variety be offered.


Loriann Knapton, NDTR, SNS

Nutrition Program Consultant
(608) 266-1046

Jessica Oele, MS, RDN, CD

Nutrition Program Consultant
(608) 266-3296