Earlier this week, a new USDA Foods vendor delivered 2,000 gallons of fresh milk to the D.C. Capital Area Food Bank. The delivery was one of many taking place at food banks across the country resulting from purchases made by the USDA to provide market support to the dairy industry.
USDA Foods are a variety of U.S.-produced and processed agricultural products the department regularly purchases to encourage consumption of domestic agricultural products and provide nutritious domestic food to nutrition assistance programs.
Dairy Maid, the milk processing company in Frederick, Maryland, that delivered the milk, is one of 12 new vendors selling fluid milk to USDA. But the agency needs more. By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, USDA had purchased more than $20 million worth of milk and has been approved to purchase additional $10 million in 2019.
“To successfully supply nutrition programs around the country with a perishable product like fluid milk, we need to find more of those local farmers who can make last mile deliveries,” said USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach.
In addition to these purchases, USDA is buying products under the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, its arm of USDA’s three-pronged trade mitigation program, to help farmers impacted by unfair trade practices. Commodities being purchased include apples, blueberries, cranberry products, dried plums, grapes and pork. USDA began issuing solicitations for the purchases in early October and expect to purchase other products throughout 2019.
USDA will distribute these commodities through the Food and Nutrition Service’s safety net of nutrition assistance programs. The majority of the foods distributed will be provided to states for use in the network of food banks and food pantries that participate in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
“Through TEFAP, we distributed $567 million worth of 100 percent domestically grown foods in FY18,” said Brandon Lipps, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “This nutritious food was delivered to organizations like this one in an effort to help our neighbors when they need it most.”
“While USDA regularly buys food for a number of uses, the extra purchases this fiscal year will be substantial,” said Ibach. “We encourage all interested farmers, ranchers and processors to participate.”
The following table highlights some of the purchases that will occur throughout the fiscal year.
Up to $93,395,000
Up to $48,211,000
Up to $55,590,000
Up to $558,815,000
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