President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on April 17 a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, and under the authority of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act the federal government intends to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products.
The products will go to “those in need,” according to a release from the USDA, which said it will “partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities.” The $3 billion purchase will include fresh produce, dairy, and meat products.
“USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 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 to provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks and other non-profits serving Americans in need,” the release read.
In addition, “USDA will issue a solicitation in the next two weeks [from the April 17 date] to invite proposals from offerors to supply commodity boxes to non-profit organizations, identified by the offeror, on a mutually agreeable, recurring schedule. USDA will award contracts for the purchase of the agricultural products, the assembly of commodity boxes and delivery to identified non-profit organizations that can receive, store and distribute food items.”
More information is available at USDAFoodBoxDistributionProgram@usda.gov, and to receive updates by e-mail, readers can subscribe online by visiting: “Stay up to date on USDA Food Purchases” available on the AMS Commodity Procurement website.