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Cheese Rebate Program


cheese wedge
School Food Authorities (SFAs) have the option of spending entitlement in the Wisconsin USDA Foods Cheese Rebate Program. This program gives SFAs the opportunity to order donated pounds of USDA Food product Cheese Mozzarella Bulk (110244) to be sent to eligible processors for further processing into pizza and pizza like products.
SFAs can use a competitive bid process to procure either directly from the manufacturer or indirectly from their prime vendor (commercial distributor).
On the USDA Foods Annual Order Survey in February, SFAs will commit pounds of bulk mozzarella cheese to their chosen manufacturer(s) for the next school year. SFAs must use bulk pounds by the end of the school year. Any remaining bulk pounds in SFA accounts will be swept into the State Agency account on June 30 per the Inventory Sweep Policy.
  • SFAs order familiar commercial end products from known vendors all year long, and SFAs save the value of the bulk USDA Food used to produce their favorite end products.
  • SFAs have flexibility throughout the school year to order end products from their prime vendor to be delivered when they want them.
Who Can Participate
All Wisconsin SFAs that contract with a prime vendor (or commercial distributor) can opt to participate in this program. Cheese Rebate is available in the State Processing and Direct Diversion Surveys.
DPI Fees
In August, SFAs incur a one-time DPI administrative fee for the upcoming school year based on the SFAs’ bulk pound commitments for the year. For more details, on the WI USDA Foods webpage, left navigation bar, click on "Product Values and Fees".
Timeline and Tasks


  • The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) emails SFAs that the list of manufacturers that are eligible to participate in this program next school year is posted our website.


  • SFAs start the procurement process to select a prime vendor. SFAs develop a product list that includes end products that use Cheese Mozzarella Bulk (110244). In the procurement documents, SFAs provide this product list, including estimated number of cases.


  • After prime vendor is awarded, SFA asks the prime vendor which of the eligible processors they can select during the Annual Order Survey.
  • Before the Annual Order Survey opens in February, SFAs use meal plans to estimate the number of cases to order and calculate the number of USDA cheese bulk pounds to commit to eligible processors.


  • In February, during the Annual Order Survey, SFAs will commit the number of pounds, as close as possible, to what their SFA will use at each processor during the next school year.

During the School Year

  • SFAs order finished pizza like end products from their prime vendor(s) to draw down pounds at the processor.
  • Important: When ordering from the commercial distributors, SFAs need to select the USDA Foods option, not the commercial option, to drawdown their pounds.
  • SFAs must track pound usage and balances at the processor to ensure all pounds are used at all processors by the end of the school year.
  • When plans change, SFAs work with processors, brokers, and commercial distributors to use pounds, and if available, receive more pounds.
  • SFAs must confirm that 1) the prime vendor has communicated the rebate to the processor, 2) the SFA has received the value of the rebate, and 3) the processor has drawn down the pounds. Receiving the value of the rebate is normally electronic, but some vendors may instruct SFAs to mail in rebates to processors for payment.
  • At the end of the school year, any of the SFAs’ unused pounds are swept into the DPI State Account. Unused pounds will be redistributed at the beginning of the next school year based on results of the February Annual Order Survey.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  1. If my SFA doesn’t participate in the program this year, can I commit to participate in the next school year?
    1. Yes. During the Wisconsin USDA Foods Annual Order Survey, in February, each SFA that opts to participate in the Cheese Rebate Program will commit bulk pounds of cheese to their procured vendor(s) for next school year. Participation in this program is an annual decision.
  2. How do I get my pizza and pizza-type products delivered to my school?
    1. You will order the end products through your prime vendor or commercial distributor(s) at the same time as your other commercial purchases. The commercial distributor will deliver the products to your SFA.
  3. If I change my prime vendor, can I change my bulk cheese commitment to any of the other processor(s) during the school year?
    1. No. Your bulk commitment to the processor(s) is for the entire school year, or until the cheese inventory has been depleted.
  4. What if I don’t use all the bulk cheese my SFA committed to the processor(s) for one school year?
    1. Any unused pounds are swept into the Wisconsin State Account on June 30, at the end of the school year. DPI will redistribute pounds in the next school year. To avoid this, SFAs should calculate cheese commitments carefully and commit an amount that can be used during the school year. For complete details, refer to the Department of Public Instruction’s Inventory Sweep Policy.
  5. Can I commit cheese that I currently have stored at my school?
    1. No. The cheese order for the Cheese Rebate Program is directly diverted from the USDA contracted vendor to the cheese processors.
  6. How do I calculate my savings?
    1. The example below shows the difference between the commercial price and the net price with the rebate savings per case (not actual USDA Foods Value):

Bulk USDA Food Used in Sal’s Pizza Bites

Commercial Price for a Case of Sal’s Pizzas

Value of USDA Food

Amount of Bulk USDA Food in a Case of Sal’s Pizza

Rebate Per Case

Net Price for a Case

Mozzarella, Bulk


$1.6208 / lb.

5.68 lbs.



If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact or (608)267-4599.

Eligible Processors School Year 2024-25

Starting November 2023, SFAs planning to participate should begin the competitive bid process to select a manufacturer or a prime vendor. DPI will post and email the list of eligible processors for the Cheese Rebate Program in November 2023.

  • Bake Crafters Food Company - New!
  • ConAgra Foods
  • E S Foods - New!
  • Nardone Bros. Baking
  • Rich Products
  • S. A. Piazza & Associates
  • Schwan's  Food Service Inc.
  • Tyson Sales & Distribution

List of SFAs Participating in the Cheese Rebate Program

Eligible Processors School Year 2023-24

  • Tyson/Bosco's
  • Schwan's Food Service
  • ConAgra Foods
  • Nardone Brothers Baking
  • S.A. Piazza

Eligible Processor School Year 2022-23

  • Tyson/Bosco's
  • Schwan's Food Service
  • ConAgra Foods
  • ES Foods
  • Nardone Brothers Baking
  • Bernatello's
  • S.A. Piazza


Lera Karns
Contract Specialist
(608) 267-9288

Laura Paella
Contract Specialist
(608) 267-4598