WASHINGTON, DC, December 16, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the accomplishments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past year.
“While this was a tough year with the coronavirus, historic wildfires, and weather damage, USDA met these challenges with a multitude of programs and services to support Americans and keep our agricultural sector running and responsive to the country’s needs,” said Secretary Perdue. “We salute our mission areas and agencies for keeping our customers front and center, serving the American people, farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.”
The information below highlights USDA nutrition programs. Click here to see full release.
Farmers to Families Food Box Program:
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchased $8.6 billion in food for delivery to food banks, churches, schools, community organizations, tribal organizations, and international food aid organizations through various programs during Fiscal Year 2020. Using Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funding, USDA announced the Farmers to Families Food Box Program on April 17, 2020. Through this program, USDA has been partnering with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $4.5 billion in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat products from American producers of all sizes. Distributors then package these products into family-sized boxes and transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need. The Food Box Program has provided more than 125 million food boxes to Americans in need and will purchase nearly $4.5 billion worth of food by the end of the year.
(You may view the Farmers to Families Food Box Program video or click on the image above to watch a highlight video of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program in action across the United States)
Ensuring Access to Food:
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) took unprecedented steps to ensure that children and low-income individuals had access to nutritious food in response to the pandemic as well. FNS issued more than 4,000 program flexibilities to adjust to local needs and maximize access for all eligible families across each of USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs. In October, USDA announced it would allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. This unprecedented move is part of USDA’s unwavering commitment to ensuring all children across America have access to nutritious food as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(You may view the school meals announcement video or click on the image about to learn more about the flexibilities)
USDA Agency Accomplishments:
USDA serves the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country. While each mission area accomplished a great deal in 2020, notable accomplishments are as follows:
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways, including Emergency Meals to You, a public-private partnership which delivered more than 40 million meals to approximately 400,000 children in rural areas during Spring and Summer 2020 school closures. FNS also stood up a new version of food assistance called Pandemic EBT, to cover the cost of meals children would normally receive at school. FNS quickly expanded access to online purchasing for more than 97 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in 46 states and the District of Columbia. FNS continues to work with interested states and retailers, with a priority on independently owned and operated retailers. This year also realized key policies in line with the agency’s commitment to customer service, program integrity and self-sufficiency, including the first ever SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) National Work Forum, bringing together more than 1,500 partners nationwide to discuss ways to move SNAP participants forward into work opportunities.
- Secretary Perdue Applauds USDA’s 2020 Accomplishments (full release)
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