USDA Food Box program scrutinized and defended


USDA Food Box program scrutinized and defended

The chairwoman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations has criticized the USDA’s Farmers to Food Box Program for not feeding the most people and not spending the money fairly.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio says USDA rushed the program out the door with very little quality control on who got the contracts and who is qualified to meet the need.

But, USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach testified that the goal was to get the food out as quickly as possible as the COVID-19 pandemic was hurting the supply chain.

“Implementing the program in a speedy fashion was one of our major considerations because of the crisis that we were hearing from the fruit and vegetable industry about the waste of food occurring there as well as the waste of milk and dairy products.”

Ibach says they’re going to open another bid process later this week, “We are committed to trying to provide informational sessions to be able to help more people be able to bid competitively.”

Ibach says they held webinars and worked to inform people quickly about the Food Box program but concedes a lot of growers were not able to be involved and he hopes to change that with the next roll out.