With farmers and food processors facing challenges in getting food to market and charitable food banks facing significant increases in need, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed several issues in the food supply chain that unfortunately has led to dumping milk, euthanizing chickens and plowing crops under. Efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus has also left many people unemployed and struggling to put food on their tables,” Causer said. “This program offers a great opportunity to ensure the food our farmers work so hard to produce finds its way to the tables of the Pennsylvanians in need.”
Under the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, USDA plans to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need. The Agricultural Marketing Service’s Commodity Procurement Program will procure an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving people in need.
The deadline to submit proposals for the program is Friday, May 1. Additional information about the program and guidelines is available here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box.