The Agricultural Act of 2014 (PL 113-79, the Farm Bill) was signed into law on Feb. 7, 2014. Section 4205 of that Act required the establishment of a Multi-Agency Task Force to provide coordination and direction for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) with the following requirements:
- The Task Force must have at least four members: a representative from the Food Distribution Division of FNS, appointed by the Under Secretary for the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to serve as the Chairperson of the Task Force. Additionally, the committee must include at least one representative from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), appointed by the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; at least one representative from the Farm Services Agency (FSA), appointed by the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; and at least one representative from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), appointed by the Under Secretary for Food Safety.
- The Task Force is responsible for evaluating and monitoring USDA commodity programs to ensure that through the distribution of domestic agricultural products, the programs support the U.S. farm sector and contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals in the United States. The Task Force is further required to review and make recommendations on: specifications used for the procurement of food commodities, the distribution of food commodities, and the degree to which the quantity, quality, and specifications of procured food commodities align with the needs of producers and the preferences of recipient agencies.
FNS submits this report to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in fulfillment of this directive.
This report covers the meetings held July 2018-December 2020. The Task Force continues to review a series of action items and address new hot topics, including:
- Improve USDA Foods program operation through the implementation of the USDA Foods Business Management Improvement Initiative;
- Review product availability and purchase plans for USDA Foods programs to provide healthy foods that support domestic agriculture;
- Improve access to nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information for USDA Foods products that are procured by USDA and provided to schools;
- Review stakeholder needs and prioritize product development and reformulation efforts for USDA Foods.