USDA approves $1.2 billion in food purchases to help America’s needy

California connecting farmers to food banks

The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the USDA approves $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program designed to connect excess food, dairy, and produce on farms with families in need. Initially, the department planned $100 million per month for the program, but the $1.2 billion exceeds that due to high need and interest.

The program plans to purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in dairy, $258 million in mear, 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.

The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“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.

“The American Farm Bureau 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.”