The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that there is going to be a fourth round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. A total of $500 million has been authorized for the latest round of purchases. USDA is issuing solicitations to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders. Contracts are expected to be awarded by October 30 for the delivery of food boxes between November 1 through the end of the year.
“I’m gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Farmers to Families Food Box program from families, distributors, food banks, faith-based organizations and non-profits in communities across the country. We recently surpassed 110 million boxes delivered, and millions more are headed to Americans in need,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release. “I’m very pleased that we are able to extend this program and continue our relief efforts for American farmers and families.”
Round four will be administered similarly to the previous round. Boxes will be allocated based on individual states’ needs. The emphasis on the “last mile” of delivery and detailed plans for reaching underserved areas will remain focal points. Entities that meet the requirements for the program will be issues agreements and submit pricing details through a competitive acquisition process.
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION NOT WITHOUT ISSUES
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has not been universally celebrated. The Government Accountability Office had recommended that USDA adjust the review process for applications after contracts were awarded to businesses with no experience in foodservice. The third round of the program also came under significant criticism after the food boxes began including letters signed by President Donald Trump. The Counter also reports that some farmers have been left with produce they cannot harvest after being denied for the third round of the program.