( Cauliflower - Eric Prouzet; Oranges - Alice Pasqual; Strawberries - adrianna geo; Lettuce - pina messina: Source Unsplash; Graphi by Brooke Park )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $512 million for fresh produce purchases through renewed contracts to companies packing and distributing in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The total awards announced by the USDA July 1 is $1.27 billion in renewed contracts, and $202 million in new contracts that are mostly to produce companies. That’s on top of the original $2.2 billion announced for the first round of contracts on May 8.

A total of 199 contracts were renewed, according to the USDA, which did not report the amount each company received in the new round of funding, with a total of $1.27 billion.

Companies receiving contracts for the first time for the food box program, are mostly produce suppliers, or produce is one of the company’s product segment.

Some of those contracts went to companies whose original bids were passed over “due to various issues in their proposals,” according to the USDA announcement. The new awards will “direct food to reach underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered, or where boxes are being delivered but where there is additional need.”

The produce companies (and distributors that handle produce) in that list are:

  • Charlie’s Produce: $656,600; 
  • J. Ambrogi Foods: $2.21 million;
  • Lone Tree Foods: $135,000; 
  • Maine Farmers Exchange $2.14 million;
  • Military Produce Group: $21.6 million;
  • Native Maine Produce: $1.35 million; 
  • Royal Food Service: $2.57 million;
  • Senn Brothers: $1.68 million;
  • Shamrock Foods: $5.13 million;
  • Titan Farms: $5.67 million;
  • Vincent Farms: $4.47 million;
  • GoFresh: $35.99 million;
  • Derstine’s: $7.95 million;
  • CashWa Distributing: $16.37 million; and
  • Gold Star Foods (serves Southern California schools) $90.45 million.

The $1.27 billion in renewed contracts also include $288 million for dairy products, $233 million for meat products and $444 million for boxes that are a combination of produce, dairy and meat products.

“The decision to extend current contracts and the quantities extended under those contracts were determined based on a variety of factors such as contractor performance on this and other federal contracts, funds availability to the government, and the needs of the government,” according to the USDA.

Several companies are absent from the “renewed” list, including Ben Holtz Consulting, whose original $40 million contract was rescinded. CRE8AD8, a San Antonio event planning company that received $39 million and struggled to meet demands of Texas food banks, did not receive an extension.

The USDA plans to make more award announcements for companies new to the program, which has a $3 billion price tag in total.

“USDA is exploring different contracting vehicles available for these additional purchases,” according to the release. “Information about this next round of contracting will be made available on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program website at www.usda.gov/farmers-to-families. Please monitor the website or subscribe for updates.”

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USDA extends food box contracts, adds new distributors

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Submitted by R Henry on Thu, 07/02/2020 - 14:14

Sorry, but this is insane.

Submitted by Tim on Thu, 07/09/2020 - 07:11

This needs to end, this is killing the industry, markets are way out of wack, the ones loving this are the ones making millions off the program while the rest of us suffer

In reply to by R Henry (not verified)

Submitted by Lori Mears on Wed, 08/05/2020 - 18:48

Proposals with adherement to contract requirements upon invoicing and evidence of delivery & distribution is mainstay for proper handling.
Experiencing the need & the process first hand, millions are receiving help & hope in the sharing with others as well. So gladly participating & seeing the smiles & living hope return as many have been severely impacted. Covid 19 is a catastrophic an unforeseen devastating situation, God bless all those watching out for as many (if not all) concerned as possible. Thank-you USDA & Farmers to Families, this will prove a keeper, like "No Man Left Behind!"