The Farmers to Families Food Box Program recently received an expansion of funding after an announcement from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and President Donald Trump. The additional funding of $1 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will be used to continue the efforts of providing critical support to farmers and families in need. The program has also been extended beyond its initial window of October.
“I’m so proud of the people of USDA for designing this program in record time. With this additional up to $1 billion in funding, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will continue to save countless jobs, support our farmers and move food to where it’s needed most,” Secretary Perdue said in a news release. “As the President said, when a food box is delivered to a family, we show them that in this country no one is forgotten.”
USDA also announced that the agency has started issuing food box agreements for the upcoming third round of solicitations. The additional funding for the program has been made possible as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Since the program began there have been 71.7 million food boxes invoiced in rounds one and two of the program. In the ongoing second round of the program, USDA has purchased over $1 billion of food, extended contracts from the initial round worth up to $1.27 billion, and also approved up to $202 million in new contracts.
“We greatly appreciate the serious commitment to oversight that USDA has shared in response to our letter of May 11 regarding the Farmers to Families Food Box program,” said United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “This innovative program was set up in record time to provide a win-win-win opportunity for farmers, produce distributors who were devastated by the collapse of the foodservice business, and most importantly, those in most need in our communities across the country.”