USDA cancels Farmers to Family Food Box Program

Midwest Farm

Staff Sgt. Mike Schuster loads two produce boxes into a car at a food bank distribution by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(WFRV) – The Farmers to Families Food Box is coming to an end.

The program delivers boxes of surplus agricultural products to food banks. It is being stopped due to inefficiencies in distribution, according to the USDA.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers USDA will take the best of the program, “and incorporate it into our traditional regular programs that are very efficient of food distribution.”

USDA announced new pandemic aid programs Monday to help make up for the loss of the Farmers to Families Food Box program. 

The Farmers to Families Food Box program was started at the height of the pandemic, to deal with excess food and a growing amount of food-insecure Americans.

The cost was $4 billion, which is six times the USDA’s normal emergency food budget.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on USDA’s decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box program.

“AFBF was surprised to learn of Secretary Vilsack’s decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box program. The pandemic had a devastating effect on farmers, ranchers and families across the country when schools, cafeterias and restaurants shut down. More than 150 million food boxes were produced and helped America’s families suffering from the hardships caused by COVID-19. The need is still there.

“America’s farmers and ranchers feed the world and we believe no one should go hungry. We look forward to continue working with Secretary Vilsack and learn how USDA plans to address the heightened need at food banks while providing a destination for the fresh, healthy food being produced by farm families across the country.”

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