Trump says US will purchase $3 billion in agricultural products from farmers
President Trump announced Saturday that the U.S. will buy $3 billion in agricultural products from American farmers starting early next week.
“Starting early next week, at my order, the USA will be purchasing, from our Farmers, Ranchers & Specialty Crop Growers, 3 Billion Dollars worth of Dairy, Meat & Produce for Food Lines & Kitchens. ‘FARMERS TO FAMILY FOOD BOX’ Great news for all!” Trump said in a tweet to his followers.
The president referenced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) program, Farmers to Families Food Box, that aligns with the $19 billion relief plan announced by the USDA in April.
Starting early next week, at my order, the USA will be purchasing, from our Farmers, Ranchers & Specialty Crop Growers, 3 Billion Dollars worth of Dairy, Meat & Produce for Food Lines & Kitchens. “FARMERS TO FAMILY FOOD BOX” Great news for all! @SecretarySonny @ZippyDuvall
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2020
On Friday, the USDA approved $1.2 billion in contracts for Farmers to Families Food Box, which seeks to move surplus food out of the market and into food banks.
“The USDA approved $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program designed to connect excess meat, dairy and produce on farms with families facing food insecurity” the Farm Bureau said in an online release.
“The funding far exceeds the $100 million per month the department initially planned for the program, due to high interest and need. The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in dairy, $258 million in meat and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products.”
The White House, USDA and the Farm Bureau were not immediately available to provide further details of the $3 billion purchase to The Hill.
The announcement from the president comes at a dire time for U.S. farmers, who were facing extreme obstacles that predate the pandemic.
As restaurants and schools across the U.S. shutter, some farmers have been forced to let produce rot in the field or dump oversupplies of milk, while COVID-19 breakouts in meat processing plants have raised concerns about meeting the growing demand for store-ready beef, pork and chicken.
Meanwhile, Food banks have reported shortages as record-numbers of unemployment has drawn more people to use their services.