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Third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases announced

(WJHG)
Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 5:21 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is dolling out the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the USDA will start handing out the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases and distributions will begin by Sept. 1, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2020. He says the purchases will spend the $3 billion authorized for the program and over 46 million Farmers to Families Food Boxes have already been invoiced and delivered.

“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,” said Secretary Perdue. “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.”

“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has created a tangible link between hungry families and struggling farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump. “Through this third round of Farmers to Families Food Box purchases announced today, the Trump Administration continues its steadfast commitment to supporting our farmers, bolstering our workforce and feeding families most in need during this critical time.” 

The USDA says the third round of purchases has been approved for combination boxes ensuring all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products.

According to the Department, eligibility for the third round is reserved for entities that are able to meet the government’s requirements and specifications. It says proposals must show how coverage will be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements and address the last-mile delivery of product into the hands of Americans that are food insecure.

The USDA says a notice that explains the solicitation process will be issued with a webinar and other educational opportunities provided for those interested in participation.

According to the USDA, the second round of purchasing distribution began July 1 and will conclude Aug. 31, 2020. It says it is aiming to purchase up to $1.47 billion of food for the program. For the second round, it says it extended contracts of select vendors from the first round of the program worth up to $1.27 billion.

The Department also says in the second round it approved up to $202 million in new contracts via a new acquisition activity and select vendors whose offers were not previously accepted due to various issues within proposals. It says distributors were selected to increase the focus on Opportunity Zones in order to direct food to underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered or where boxes are being delivered but there is an additional need for food.

The USDA says the first round of purchases totaled mover $947 million and occurred from May 15 to June 30, 2020.

For more information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program visit the USDA website.

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