In The News
Michigan farmers to benefit from U.S. buying $470M in surplus food
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend an additional $470 million in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 on surplus food from American farmers to distribute to communities nationwide, according to an announcement made Monday evening, May 4.
Michigan farmers are expected to benefit from purchases of products including asparagus, cherries, dairy, pork and turkey. The Agricultural Marketing Service will purchase $5 million in asparagus, $30 million in pork, $20 million in tart cherries, $120 million in dairy products and $50 million in turkey products.
The Agricultural Marketing Service will begin soliciting purchases in June and intends to begin delivering to nutrition assistance programs including food banks, in July.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said he has advocated for West Michigan farmers to benefit from the U.S Department of Agriculture purchases. West Michigan is known as a national leader in the production of asparagus and cherries, and contributes significantly in the production of dairy, pork and turkey.
“The decision made by the USDA to purchase additional asparagus, tart cherries, dairy, pork, and turkey will add much needed certainty for West Michigan farmers and growers,” Huizenga said in a prepared statement issued Monday evening, May 4. “With this announcement, West Michigan agriculture can play a leading role in increasing food security for families impacted by the coronavirus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain for American farmers and ranchers. The food industry is experiencing high inventories due to a decrease in demand as food food service establishments, restaurants and schools have closed in an effort to reduce the spread of the infectious respiratory virus.
Meanwhile, food banks, food pantries and other organizations supporting communities across the country have experienced an increase in demand.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said President Donald Trump authorized the USDA to support the nation’s farmers during the national emergency by purchasing surplus food and providing it to “hungry Americans who need it most.”
Details on how vendors can participate in the program are available on the Selling Food to USDA page on the AMS website. Solicitations will be posted to the AMS Open Purchases Request website once available.
The USDA plans to purchase 100 percent American-grown and produced agricultural products totaling $4.89 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year.
That includes spending $3 billion through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, $850 million through The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and $573.6 million through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program.