U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend the contracts of select vendors from the first round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
The program was implemented as a part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Perdue announced on April 17. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) partnered with national, regional, and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products. Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need from May 15 through June 30, 2020.
Now, the agency is exercising the option to extend contracts for current distributors for the next performance period, July 1–August 30, for up to $1.16 billion of food. The decision to extend current contractors was determined based on their performance since May 15. Some vendors were extended without any adjustment to their delivery amounts, while others’ amounts or locations were adjusted based on their demonstrated abilities to perform or at the vendor’s request.
Between May 15 and June 17, distributors delivered over 17 million food boxes to approximately 3,200 non-profit organizations across the United States, including Guam and Puerto Rico.
“These extensions are a testament to the great work done by these vendors in support of American agriculture and the American people,” said Perdue. “They are also 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.”