The Farm to Food Bank Enhancement Act would provide $25 million for states to expand or establish new Farm to Food bank projects as part of The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. The federal funding would be used to cover up to 100% of harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation costs for covered commodities.
The bill was introduced May 8 by Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; Jim Costa, D-California, and Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands.
- Appropriates $25 million through fiscal year 2020 for Enhanced Farm to Food Bank Projects;
- Enhances the funding for harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation costs up to 100% of costs. The original Farm to Food Bank program only covers 50% of costs;
- Encourages states to work with agricultural producers, distributors, and processors who grow or market products that have seen decreased demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak and cannot easily be repackaged for retail sale;
- Allows states to carry out new projects with agriculture producers, processors, or distributors;
- Allows the secretary to reallocate unexpended funds to other eligible states if the secretary
- determines that a state will not use all of its allocated funds;
- Requires states that receive funding to submit financial reports to the secretary describing the use of the funds; and
- Allows states to partner with other states to maximize the use of donated foods.
“At the same time millions of hungry Americans are lining up at food banks as a result of the pandemic, many of our nation’s farmers and agriculture producers are seeing their demand disappear and are having to destroy millions of pounds of fresh food,” said Fudge, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations. “Our bill will help to connect those two important parts of the emergency response, making great strides toward preventing food waste and fighting hunger that is reaching new, unprecedented highs.”
“California farmers and foodbanks have already proven this model works,” Costa said. “As chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, I know our fruit, vegetable, dairy, livestock, and poultry farmers have lost markets for their products, and this bill will help get some of what they produce to the people who need it more than ever right now.”
“This legislation is a step in the right direction for both our farmers and our food-insecure families. As chair of the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that we support specialty crop farmers during this difficult time and better connect families in need more quickly with nutritious fruits and vegetables,” Plaskett said.