USDA announces details of $470 million in food purchases

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of $470 million in Section 32 food purchases to occur in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, in addition to purchases previously announced, which will enable USDA to purchase surplus food for distribution to communities nationwide. These Section 32 purchases will provide additional support for producers and Americans in need, in response to changing market conditions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency.

“President Trump has authorized USDA to support our farmers affected by this national emergency and this action to purchase food and deliver to those in need further demonstrates his unwavering support for the American people during these unprecedented times,” said Secretary Perdue. “America’s farmers and ranchers have experienced a dislocated supply chain caused by the coronavirus. USDA is in the unique position to purchase these foods and deliver them to the hungry Americans who need it most.”

Background:

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will purchase a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood products. Specific purchase amounts for each commodity are included in the chart below. Purchases are determined by industry requests, market analysis, and food bank needs. AMS will begin issuing solicitations in June and intends to begin deliveries in July. Details on how vendors may participate are available on the Selling Food to USDA page on the AMS website. Solicitations will be posted to the AMS Open Purchases Request website once available. Industry requests for future purchases using Section 32 funds, including potential plans for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, will be assessed on an ongoing basis.

Commodity

Purchase Amount

Asparagus

$5,000,000

Catfish Products

$30,000,000

Chicken

$30,000,000

Dairy Products

$120,000,000

Haddock, Pollock, Redfish (Atlantic)

$20,000,000

Orange Juice

$25,000,000

Pears

$5,000,000

Pollock (Alaska)

$20,000,000

Pork

$30,000,000

Potatoes

$50,000,000

Prunes

$5,000,000

Raisins

$15,000,000

Strawberries

$35,000,000

Sweet Potatoes

$10,000,000

Tart Cherries

$20,000,000

Turkey Products

$50,000,000

Total

$470,000,000

On an ongoing basis, AMS purchases a variety of domestically produced and processed agricultural products as authorized by Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935. These “USDA Foods” are provided to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) nutrition assistance programs, including food banks that operate The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and are a vital component of the nation’s food safety net.

In addition to Section 32 purchases, USDA will use other available funds to purchase food in support of American agriculture and families on an ongoing basis and in response to recent disruptions in the food-supply chains. The U.S. food industry is experiencing high inventories due to a decrease in demand as foodservice establishments, restaurants, and schools have closed and prices producers typically receive have declined. Meanwhile, food banks, food pantries, and other organizations supporting communities across the country have experienced an increase in demand.

Using these available funds, USDA plans to purchase 100% American-grown and produced agricultural products totaling $4.89 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year in support of American agriculture and people in need:

Farmers to Families Food Box Program - $3 billion

  • USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase and distribute $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products. The purchases will be distributed through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
  • 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 preapproved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.

TEFAP - Additional $850 million

  • On an ongoing basis, USDA supports low-income families through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides emergency food assistance to states. USDA purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality foods using Section 32 and other funds and makes those foods available for distribution to states to operate TEFAP.
  • USDA plans to utilize an additional $400 million provided by the FFCRA and $450 million provided by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act to make additional purchases for TEFAP program recipients. The commodities and products procured for this program will be determined by food bank need and product availability.

Support Program for Farmers - $573.6 million

  • Through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), AMS is continuing its plans to purchase $1.4 billion in agricultural products produced by U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers suffering damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.
  • A total of $573.6 million remains for these purchases this fiscal year. These food purchases are provided to states for distribution to the network of food banks and food pantries that participate in TEFAP.

Additional information on these purchase and distribution programs is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service website and the Food and Nutrition Service website.  

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