The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today it is authorizing $500 million, as provided through the CARES Act, to support Round 4 of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The program is dedicated to purchasing dairy products and fresh milk, fresh produce, eggs, and meat products from American producers for donation to food insecure Americans and those in need, especially in underserved areas. USDA is expected to begin issuing solicitations for Round 4 to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders and expects to award contracts by Oct. 30 for deliveries of food boxes from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. Contracting and deliveries for Round 3 will conclude on Oct. 30, as planned—there is no extension for Round 3.
In Round 4, USDA has said it plans to work with contractors to deliver food boxes to every state in the United States. In Round 4, USDA continues to request combination boxes. For a list of the requested dairy products, please see the USDA Solicitation Amendment 1.
· Requirements for Combination Box Including Dairy: The Combination Box requires 5-6 pounds of dairy in each box from at least 2 different sets of dairy items from Column A and Column B of the Amendment, which include cheeses and other dairy; plus each Combination Box must include the equivalent of 1 gallon of milk (2% or whole).
To date, USDA has purchased nearly $1 billion in dairy products since mid-May, including fresh fluid milk, various cheeses, yogurt, sour cream and more. Before today’s announcement, USDA had set aside up to $4 billion to support the program. Since May, USDA has delivered approximately 110 million food boxes. Dairy makes up at least one-quarter of all products included in the boxes.
Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, said today, “IDFA has worked closely with USDA to ensure dairy remains a key part of the Farmers to Families Food Box program. Since the beginning of this pandemic, IDFA has remained focused on keeping the dairy supply chain intact, supporting our producers and processors, and getting nutritious dairy foods to Americans in need. Our members are grateful for the opportunity to partner with non-profits, food banks, and faith and community organizations to help the less fortunate among us.”
You can learn more about this program by visiting: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box