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USDA’s ‘Food Box’ Program to Ramp Up Next Week, Trump Says

Maria Jose Valero

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said in a tweet Saturday that the country will start buying up to $3 billion in surplus dairy products, meat and fresh produce from U.S. farmers starting next week.

The program is part of the $2 trillion aid package passed by Congress in March and signed by Trump to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Agriculture released details of the initiative, known as the “Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” on April 17.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Friday that USDA had approved an initial $1.2 billion in contracts under the program.

The program will procure about $100 million a month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million a month in dairy products and $100 million in meat products, the USDA said on its website.

The department plans to partner with regional and local distributors to buy the items, which will be packaged into “family sized” boxes and given to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits.

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