|DATE:||September 7, 2023|
|SUBJECT:||The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – State Plan Requests and Allocations for Fiscal Year 2024 Farm to Food Bank Projects|
Special Nutrition Programs
MARO, MPRO, MWRO, NERO, SERO, SWRO, and WRO
All TEFAP State Agencies
Section 4018(b) of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (PL 115-334, the 2018 Farm Bill) amended Section 203D of the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 to provide funding for TEFAP state agencies to pay for projects to harvest, process, package, or transport commodities donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors for use by emergency feeding organizations (EFOs). These projects are known as Farm to Food Bank Projects. The purpose of this memorandum is to collect TEFAP state plan amendments for such projects in fiscal year (FY) 2024.
Farm to Food Bank Projects
Farm to Food Bank Projects are defined at 7 CFR 251.10(j) as the harvesting, processing, packaging, or transportation of unharvested, unprocessed, or unpackaged commodities donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors for use by EFOs. The purpose of such projects must be to (a) reduce food waste at the agricultural production, processing, or distribution level through the donation of food, (b) provide food to individuals in need, and (c) build relationships between agricultural producers, processors, and distributors and EFOs through the donation of food. Farm to Food Bank Project funds can only be used for the costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, or transporting privately donated foods, and cannot be used to purchase foods or for agricultural production activities (e.g., purchasing seeds or planting crops). Additionally, these funds may not be used for costs associated with handling USDA Foods provided for distribution through TEFAP. States have discretion in determining how to distribute Farm to Food Bank Project funds and may apply funds to both new initiatives and to existing projects that meet the definition of a Farm to Food Bank Project. Please see FD-151: Questions and Answers about Farm to Food Bank Projects for additional information on allowable and unallowable use of funds.
FY 2024 Farm to Food Bank Project Funding
The 2018 Farm Bill provided $4 million1 each year for Farm to Food Bank Projects from FY 2019 through FY 2023. The first round of Farm to Food Bank Project grants were issued in May 2020, using funds appropriated in FY 2019 and the second round of Farm to Food Bank grants were issued in December 2020, using funds appropriated in FY 2020. A third round of Farm to Food Bank grants, issued in November 2021, used funds appropriated in FY 2021 and FY 2022. In FY 2023, FNS issued the remaining funds provided by the 2018 Farm Bill: $3,772,000 (one year of funding after rescission).
Funding for Farm to Food Bank Projects beyond FY 2023 is not guaranteed and is subject to Congressional action. However, FNS will collect state plan amendments for FY 2024. If funding is appropriated for FY 2024, all state agencies that have submitted a plan will be considered for this funding. For purposes of this memorandum, FNS has estimated that an additional $4 million will be available nationally for Farm to Food Bank Projects in FY 2024 and that the funds will be subject to rescission, meaning that $3,772,000 would be available to state agencies to carry out projects.
Farm to Food Bank Project Partners
As required by 7 CFR 251.6(a)(5), Farm to Food Bank Projects must be carried out in partnership with one or more EFOs located in the state. Per 7 CFR 251.3(e), an EFO is an eligible recipient agency which provides nutrition assistance to relieve situations of emergency and distress through the provision of food to needy persons, including low-income and unemployed persons. States must have a TEFAP agreement in place with all participating EFOs in a Farm to Food Bank Project before the start of a project.2
Through agreements, state agencies may also partner with other states to maximize the use of foods donated under any Farm to Food Bank Project. TEFAP state agencies will have the discretion to distribute funds to Farm to Food Bank Project partners as they see fit while ensuring that funds are only expended on allowable Farm to Food Bank Project costs.
State Plan Amendments
To be eligible for funds to carry out a Farm to Food Bank Project in FY 2024, state agencies must submit an amendment to their state plan to their FNS regional office by Oct. 6, 2023.3 State agencies wishing to fund multi-year Farm to Food Bank projects must submit an updated state plan Amendment each fiscal year reconfirming the ongoing operation of the project. Per 7 CFR 251.6(a)(5)(i) through (iv), state plan amendments must include all of the following requirements:
- A list of EFOs within the state/territory that will operate the project in partnership with the state agency;
- A list of any state agencies that will operate the project as a part of an agreement;
- A description of the purpose of the Farm to Food Bank Project that includes how the project will:
- Reduce food waste at the agricultural production, processing, or distribution level through the donation of food;
- Provide food to individuals in need; and
- Build relationships between agricultural producers, processors, and distributors and emergency feeding organizations through the donation of food; and
- The federal fiscal year in which the project will begin operating.
Attached to this memorandum (Attachment A) is a sample Farm to Food Bank State Plan Amendment for FY 2024 that addresses each of these required items.
As per TEFAP regulations at 7 CFR 251.10(j)(4), the federal share of a Farm to Food Bank Project shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Therefore, all federal funds utilized for Farm to Food Bank Projects must be matched by non-federal funds. The match requirement must be met through a cash or in-kind contribution from either the state or partner EFOs. Match funds must be used for allowable Farm to Food Bank project costs. While funds or in-kind contributions from non-federal sources expended to administer a project count toward the match requirement, donated foods, including the value of foods donated as a part of a Farm to Food Bank project, cannot count toward the match requirement.
Allocation of Funds for Farm to Food Bank Projects
FY 2024 Farm to Food Bank project funds, will be allocated to state agencies that have submitted an approved state plan amendment describing a plan of operation for a Farm to Food Bank project.4 The funds will be allocated using the current TEFAP formula found at 7 CFR 251.3(h). The estimated, initial level of funds potentially available for each state agency in FY 2024 is attached to this memorandum (Attachment B) and was generated using the FY 2023 TEFAP funding formula and estimated FY 2024 appropriations. Please note that final FY 2024 allocations will be calculated using the FY 2024 TEFAP funding formula and final FY 2024 appropriations.
To receive funds in FY 2024, state agencies must submit their state plan amendment (Attachment A) to their FNS regional office by Oct. 6, 2023 for review and approval.4 The allocation of funds in Attachment B should be considered the minimum amount of funds that each state can receive for FY 2024. If any TEFAP state agency does not accept all or part of its minimum allocation, remaining funds will be allocated among all states that have submitted an approved state plan amendment and that have accepted their full amount of funds on a pro-rata basis once all state plan amendments for FY 2024 are received and reviewed. Thus, states’ final allocations may vary significantly from what is included in Attachment B. Funds will be available to obligate for one year from the date of allocation.
All state agencies that receive funds to carry out Farm to Food Bank projects in FY 2024 must provide semiannual financial reports via the Food Programs Reporting System (FPRS)5. The SF-425 must be used for these reports. A report titled “TEFAP-F2F-Bank-TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Projects” in FPRS has been established for this purpose. A first report must be submitted by April 30, 2024, and reflect Farm to Food Bank project funds expended from the start of the performance period to March 31, 2024. A second report must be submitted by Oct. 30, 2024, and reflect funds expended from April 1, 2024 to Sept. 30, 2024.
A final report must be submitted within 90 days after the grant expires that reflect funds expended during the period of performance. Please see 7 CFR 251.10(j)(6) for more information on reporting requirements.
Farm to Food Bank project funds should be reported under the TEFAP administrative funding Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number, 10.568.
TEFAP state agencies with questions should contact their FNS regional offices.