The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the agency is launching round three of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. USDA plans to purchase and distribute the food boxes beginning on September 1 with a scheduled completion date of October 31. The third round of contracts is expected to be valued between $500 million and $700 million, to fulfill the original commitment of $3 billion that was authorized for the program. To date, nearly 50 million boxes of food have been invoiced and delivered as part of the program.
“This third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases is a testament to the great work done by vendors in support of American agriculture and the American people. It is 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,” Secretary Perdue said in a press 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.”
In an update to its members, United Fresh Produce Association highlighted some of the details of the third round of contracts under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Unlike the second round of the program, contracts will not be extended, however current contract holders will be able to submit a proposal for round three. The proposal process will also reportedly be longer than the previous rounds and contract proposals will need to clearly detail how the food boxes will be delivered directly to those in need.
In this third round of purchases, USDA is planning to purchase combination boxes to ensure that all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products. The announcement of another round of funding being made available was made as the second round of the program continues to make progress. More information about the third round of food box purchasing will be made available on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program website.