The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced several new and extended contracts as part of the agency’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. USDA has approved up to $1.27 billion in contract extensions and up to $202 million in new contracts to support the program. There is a total of 199 contracts that were approved for the second round of purchases.
“These extensions are a testament to the great work done by these vendors in support of American agriculture and the American people. 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. It’s a real trifecta, which is why we call it a win-win-win,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “The efforts of everyone involved form the backbone of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and its goal to help fill the hunger gap in all of our communities.”
USDA will be purchasing $512 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $288 million in dairy products, $233 million in meat products, and $444 million of boxes containing a mix of produce, dairy, and meat. The purchases will be made on top of the $2.2 billion that was initially spent during the first round of contracts back in May. The second performance period for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program runs from July 1 until August 30.
The contracts that have been renewed were based on previous performance. Some of the new contracts were awarded to companies whose bids had not been previously accepted based on a variety of issues in the proposal. The distributors under the new contacts will be primarily focused on serving underserved areas. In the coming weeks, USDA will also be announcing further opportunities for additional vendors to participate in the program.