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Spud donations continue, Feds commit another $1.2 billion to farmers

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  May 14, 2020

BOISE--Idaho potatoes are still rolling into food banks, now this:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that they will free up more than $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The Program will get surplus meat, dairy, potatoes, and produce for families needing food during the pandemic. A program that rescues food from being dumped, feeding the hungry, and helping farmers.

The Farm Bureau’s Zak Miller has been hauling spuds all over Idaho "And the potato supply chain never really stopped it just slowed down," he said. 

"In a real-time economy, all our inventories are weighed out and predicted over the course of the year. The biggest thing we are concerned about is this fall, this coming harvest when we will start getting fresh potatoes in the market but still dealing with 2019's inventory," said Miller. 
This latest USDA program addresses the food supply chain, moving food to those that need it, and cutting the supply log jam. “These purchases from USDA are really going to help in removing the excess supply from the market, and this is a benefit that really ripples across the supply chain to help improve commodity prices and help out U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Nelson. 
Nelson says the commodities benefit the most from the program are also the most perishable. “$461 million are going to go to fresh fruits and vegetables, with $317 million in a variety of dairy products, with a focus on fluid milk, and $258 million are going to meat products, with another $175 million in a combination of fresh produce, dairy, and meat produce boxes,” said Nelson.

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