Farm group laments end of Food Box program
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says he was surprised to learn of USDA Secretary Vilsack’s abrupt decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box program.
Vilsack told the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee that USDA will end the Food Box Program established by the Trump administration but will continue to distribute the produce and dairy products that became popular with food banks and other beneficiaries.
“The pandemic had a devastating effect on farmers, ranchers and families across the country when schools, cafeterias and restaurants shut down. More than 150 million food boxes were produced and helped America’s families suffering from the hardships caused by COVID-19. The need is still there.
“America’s farmers and ranchers feed the world and we believe no one should go hungry. We look forward to continue working with Secretary Vilsack and learn how USDA plans to address the heightened need at food banks while providing a destination for the fresh, healthy food being produced by farm families across the country.”
Vilsack said USDA’s information gathering on the program had shown it had “significant administrative costs and inadequate accounting of where the boxes were delivered,” but that he wants to “incorporate the best of that program” into traditional food distribution programs.