Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced up to an additional $1 billion for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The additional funding allows the program to continue critical support to farmers, distributors, and American families in need. The Farmers to Families Food Box program has provided over 70 million boxes to hungry Americans across the country.
“I am so proud of the people of USDA for designing this program in record time. With this additional up to $1 billion in funding, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will continue to save countless jobs, support our farmers and move food to where it’s needed most,” said Secretary Perdue. “As the President said, when a food box is delivered to a family, we show them that in this country no one is forgotten.”
Today, in a Fayetteville Observer op-ed, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump said, “As we work to achieve the Great American Comeback, The President and his Administration have stabilized our American food supply chain and protected our Nation’s families, farmers and ranchers…We are proud of the profound effect the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has had by keeping our farmers in business, empowering the food distribution industry workforce, and providing for those most in need.”
Additionally, USDA today announced it has begun issuing agreements for distribution of Food Boxes in the upcoming third round of solicitations. The first two rounds of deliveries began on May 15th and will run to August 31st. The third round will put more emphasis on food insecurity by seeking entities that provide combination boxes and requiring distributors to illustrate how they will provide coverage to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.
As a part of the third round, USDA continues to review proposals and make announcements of Basic Ordering Agreements (BOA). A list of current BOA holders and more information about the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases is available here.
The additional up to $1 billion funding is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorization. Entities that proposed under the previous solicitation, including current vendors, must resubmit a proposal to participate in the third round.
USDA is using BOAs in order to have greater flexibility to ensure contracted entities provide adequate coverage throughout the states and territories. A basic ordering agreement is not a contract but is a written understanding, negotiated between USDA and a company. It establishes terms for future contracts during a specific period, describes what will be provided and how future orders will be priced, issued and delivered under the contract. A BOA does not authorize companies to ship products and does not guarantee future work.
In the ongoing second round of purchasing and distribution, which began July 1st and will conclude Aug. 31, 2020, USDA has purchased over $1 billion of food, extended contracts of select vendors from the first round of the program worth up to $1.27 billion and approved up to $202 million in new contracts to increase the focus on Opportunity Zones in order to direct food to reach underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered, or where boxes are being delivered but where there is additional need.
The first round of purchases totaling up to $1.2 billion occurred from May 15 through June 30, 2020 and saw more than 35.5 million boxes delivered in the first 45 days.