$1.2B in food purchases program to connect excess food to needy
The USDA approved $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program designed to connect excess meat, dairy and produce on farms with families facing food insecurity. The funding far exceeds the $100 million per month the department initially planned for the program, due to high interest and need. The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in dairy, $258 million in meat and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger relief organization, sent a letter to the USDA requesting a nimble approach to quickly and effectively get food from America’s farms to the nation’s food banks and others addressing food insecurity.
“We applaud the USDA for its quick action and flexibility in finding a way to get food from America’s farms to the dinner tables of those who need it most. These food purchases will help the hungry while providing income to farmers and ranchers who have seen some markets for their food disappear during the COVID-19 pandemic," said American Farm Bureau Association President Zippy Duvall.
Duvall says his organization and Feeding America were among the first to call for a quick solution that links farmers with the nation’s food banks.
"USDA’s responsiveness and the early success of the food box program give hope to those in need and to farmers who have food ready to be harvested,” he said.
- The USDA is authorized to spend up to $3 billion through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
- These initial contracts will distribute food from May 15 through June 30, 2020.