USDA awards first coronavirus food box contracts


USDA awards first coronavirus food box contracts

The USDA approved 1.2 billion dollars’ worth of contracts Friday to assemble and distribute food boxes to families in need.  The funding came from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the Farmers to Families Food Box Program is a new and innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families. 

Jeff Lyon with FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative tells Brownfield the food box program is important for both families in need and farmers. “You don’t want them to offset the retail purchases, but you know, if it’s people that are unemployed, they don’t have the money, they’re not going to be buying it. We get it in their hands. We move that product. It’s a very good situation for everyone involved and gets the markets going.”

Perdue says the program will begin distributing surplus food within days.

The food box program will buy $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products, all for distribution through non-profit food banks and community groups.

Here are some of the companies and organizations supplying food and services to the food box program. Dollar figures are the total of contracts awarded to that state.

IOWA: ($5,585,950)

  • Capital City Fruit Company, Des Moines, IA
  • W & G Marketing, Ames, IA

ILLINOIS:  ($81,697,734)

  • First Cut Produce, Evanston, IL
  • Garfield Produce Company, Chicago, IL
  • Gourmet Gorilla, Inc. Chicago, IL
  • Mistica Foods, Addison, IL
  • Natural Direct, Aurora IL
  • OSI Industries, Aurora, IL
  • Prairie Farms Dairy, Edwardsville, IL
  • SMH2 Manufacturing, Chicago, IL
  • Testa Produce, Inc. Chicago, IL

KANSAS ($1,700,400)

  • A & H Farm, Manhattan, KS
  • Liberty Fruit Company, Kansas City, KS

MICHIGAN: ($41,929,062)

  • Atlas Wholesale Food Company, Detroit MI
  • COveyou Farms, Petoskey, MI
  • Del Bene Produce, Detroit, MI
  • Eastern Market Corporation, Detroit, MI
  • Heeren LLC, Comstock Park, MI
  • LaGrasso Bros. Detroit, MI
  • Van Eerden Food Service, Grand Rapids, MI
  • VanSolkema Produce, Byron Center, MI

MINNESOTA:  ($480,816)

Bongards’ Creameries, Chanhassen MN

MISSOURI: ($11,898,983)

  • Menu Maker Foods (Graves Foods) Jefferson City, MO
  • Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Columbia, MO
  • Old Tyme Produce, Inc., St. Charles, MO
  • Springfield Grocer Company, Springfield, MO

OHIO: ($7,882,950)

  • Miceli Dairy Products Company, Cleveland, OH
  • Sanson Company, Cleveland, OH

WISCONSIN: ($10,729,680)

  • Alsum Farms & Produce, Friesland WI
  • Gumz Muck Farms, Endeavor
  • Lamers Dairy, Appleton-Milaukee-Ashland-Chicago
  • Sassy Cow Creamery, Columbus, WI
  • The Fresh Group LTD (Maglio and Company) Milwaukee, WI
  • Cargill Meat Solutions, Milwaukee, WI

Payments were made to participants large and small, ranging from $1,400 to the local Willimantic Food Co-op in Connecticut to 146.9 million dollars to Borden Dairy Company, which is serving several regions of the U.S. The food box program is buying $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products.

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