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Significant Advancements Made in Local Food Procurement Efforts

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Industry

New programs administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) are helping to bolster local food purchasing efforts. Initiatives such as the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) and the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) are proving instrumental in strengthening local and regional food systems. The programs help support food purchasing efforts that facilitate agricultural supply chain resiliency and help support underserved producers.

Local Food

“USDA is excited to see such strong interest in local food and regional food systems from states, territories, tribal governments, and organizations throughout the country,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a news release. “These programs leverage government procurement efforts to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities while building more and better markets, especially for underserved producers.”

Prior to the application period for LFPA closing on May 20, a total of 86 eligible applications were received from 49 states and 33 federally recognized tribal governments. Applications from the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico were also submitted. Three cooperative agreements have already been signed between the USDA and Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maine. Other agreements are also forthcoming as they continue to be developed. Up to $400 million will be awarded through the program as authorized by the American Rescue Plan.

A total of $200 million is set to be distributed through the LFS program, to assist states with navigating challenges related to supply chain disruptions. The funding is being provided through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation and is used to support the purchase of local food that can be distributed through schools. Eligible organizations still have an opportunity to submit an application, as the window to apply will remain open until July 20.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West