USDA increases food banks and school lunches by $2 billion

The USDA will provide nearly $2 billion in additional funding to food banks and school lunch programs to purchase foods grown in the United States. The additional support will help these organizations navigate supply chain challenges and high food costs as they continue to fulfill their mission of providing nutritious food to children and families in need.

The funds, provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation, or CCC, of ​​the USDA, will be used in three ways:

  • Nearly $1 billion to buy food for emergency food providers like food banks
  • Nearly $500 million to expand the Local Food Assistance Cooperation Agreement, or LFPA, program through which 49 states, 33 tribes and four territories are already working to buy local food for their emergency food systems; and
  • Nearly $500 million for schools across the country to purchase food for their lunch and breakfast programs, bringing CCC’s total investment in school feeding since December 2021 to nearly $2 .5 billion, benefiting the approximately 30 million students who participate in the school lunch and 15 million who participate in the school breakfast each day.

The USDA says the investment is part of the department’s broader commitment to strengthening the supply chain and making nutritious foods more accessible to families.

“Food banks and schools are the backbone of our nutrition safety net, serving tens of millions of children and families,” says Stacy Dean, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Food, Nutrition and to consumer services. “The Biden administration understands that supply chain disruptions and high food costs have created uncertainty for these crucial partners, and we are committed to equipping them with the resources they need to keep communities fed, strong. and in good health.”

“These programs connect American producers directly to food banks and schools, strengthening our rural economies while helping those who need it most,” added Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “As part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to transforming our country’s food system, the USDA is dedicated to fostering partnerships between producers and food assistance programs. By working together, farmers, food banks and schools can improve our nation’s food and nutrition security.

The USDA will use $943 million to purchase USDA food for emergency food organizations facing increased needs. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Food and Nutrition Service will work together to identify the products most likely to be available for purchase and offer those products on a formula basis to the program. emergency food aid, or TEFAP, state agencies for onward distribution to local agencies, primarily food banks. The USDA will open orders in fiscal year 2023, with deliveries taking place continuously through fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

A percentage of the $943 million will cover incidental costs incurred by local agencies for the storage and transportation of USDA foods.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and its Commodities Sourcing Program purchases more than $3 billion worth of meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and oilseeds each year produced and processed in the country. These purchases of wholesome, high-quality products, collectively referred to as USDA Foods, support American agriculture by encouraging the consumption of domestic foods and provide safe, nutritious foods for a variety of federal, state and international relief programs. nutrition, says the USDA. They are delivered to schools, food banks and households in communities across the country and are an essential part of our nation’s food safety net.

School Nutrition Association President Lori Adkins said, “SNA is extremely grateful to the USDA for its continued work to support school lunch programs in the face of inflationary pressures, supply chain disruptions and the loss of pandemic waivers offering free meals to all students.

Help with the purchase of local food

The LFPA helps states, territories, and tribes purchase food from historically underserved producers as well as local and regional producers to support emergency food relief efforts.

An allocation of $471.5 million will be used for cooperative agreements with states, tribes and territories to purchase locally available foods grown in each state or within 400 miles of the delivery destination that will be distributed to meet the unique local needs of each community in the event of an emergency. nutrition programs, including food banks, schools, and organizations that reach underserved communities.

Supply chain assistance funds increased by $500 million

An investment of an additional $471.5 million will be used for the third round of supply chain assistance funds provided to states to support the purchase of American-grown foods for their meal programs. Supply Chain Assistance funding can be used by school districts to purchase unprocessed and minimally processed national foods such as fresh fruit, milk, cheese, frozen vegetables and ground meat. Each state will allocate the funds to schools based on student enrollment, with a minimum amount per district to ensure that small schools are not left behind.

This assistance builds on the two rounds of supply chain assistance funds that totaled nearly $2 billion that the USDA previously allocated in December 2021 and June 2022. These funds provide direct relief to ongoing supply chain issues and improve the quality and consistency of school meals for children in communities experiencing disruption, making it easier for schools to run successful meal programs.

Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, said the additional funding of $500 million for the supply chain assistance program will bring the program total to 2, $5 billion – a significant increase in school supply for unprocessed household foods, which includes nutritious milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. “This funding will help ensure that the professionals who serve breakfast and lunch to our children in schools can continue to serve nutritious dairy products that support growth, development, healthy immune function and well-being. general being of our children,” he said.

“America’s Dairy remains committed to playing a proactive role in improving access to nutritious food and reducing hunger and food insecurity,” Dykes adds. “We are grateful to the USDA for its continued support for schools and food banks amid supply chain disruptions.”

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