WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 8 the approval of $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box program. 

The program will purchase $258 million in meat products, $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products, $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables and $317 million in a variety of dairy products.

“This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program and solicit offers,” said US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We were pleased to see the abundance of interest from both food distributors and non-profit organizations. Within days, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will begin distributing surplus food, while safeguarding food safety techniques, to communities across the country where it’s needed most.”

The entire list of approved suppliers are posted on the Farmers to Families website

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will oversee the program which under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act can purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need. 

The agency plans to partner with regional and local distributors to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat that have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other foodservice entities.