Sep 17, 2020Third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program targets $1 billion
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Sept. 17 the USDA has approved up to $1 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
Earlier in the week, USDA reached a milestone of having distributed more than 90 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These contract awards will go to vendors who submitted the strongest proposals in support of American agriculture and the American people. The high level of interest and quality of proposals are a testament that the program is accomplishing what we intended – supporting U.S. farmers and distributors and getting food to those who need it most. It’s a real trifecta, which is why we call it a win-win-win,” Purdue said in a news release.
These contract awards are a result of the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box program announced on July 24, 2020, and President Donald Trump’s announcement on August 24 that up to an additional $1 billion was being made available for deliveries through October 31, 2020. A full list of approved suppliers will be posted on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program webpage after 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.
In this third round of purchases, USDA announced plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products. These boxes will be distributed to every county in America.
USDA solicited new proposals for the third round. Proposals were required to illustrate how coverage would be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.
Entities who met the government’s requirements and specifications were issued agreements and submitted pricing through a competitive acquisition process. Agreements were awarded based on the pricing submitted for the delivery locations proposed, box content, last mile delivery plans, means testing compliance, and support of small and local/regional food systems.
In the ongoing second round of purchasing and distribution, which began July 1 and will conclude Sep. 18, 2020, USDA has purchased more than $1.113 billion of food through extended contracts of select vendors from the first round of the program as well as new contracts focused on Opportunity Zones in order to direct food to reach underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered, or where boxes are being delivered but where there is additional need.
The first round of purchases occurred from May 15 through June 30, 2020 and saw more than 35.5 million boxes delivered in the first 45 days.
Updates to the number of food boxes verified as delivered will continue to be displayed on the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website, with breakdowns by performance period on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program page.