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The USDA Is Buying $470 Million in Excess Food From Farmers to Distribute to Communities in Need

The program aims to address food waste and hunger.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a plan this week to purchase $470 million in surplus food from farmers and ranchers to be donated to communities nationwide, Politico reported.

Food waste has been a massive problem stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools, restaurants, and hotels have closed their stores, leaving farmers with excess food and nowhere to sell it. At the same time, food banks have seen a surge in people who need their services as schools have closed and people have lost their jobs. This program from the USDA aims to solve both problems.

The USDA will purchase fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and seafood products from farmers and ranchers as part of this initiative including $30 million in chicken, $120 million in dairy products, and $50 million in potatoes. The USDA said purchases are determined by industry requests, market analysis, and food bank needs. You can see the full breakdown in their release.