The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments from growers and others after the agency purchased more than a billion pounds of agricultural commodities through a program designed to offset the effects of tariffs and trade barriers. The Food Purchase and Distribution Program $1.14 billion on 1 billion pounds of commodities, according to a news release, through the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
The purchases go to food banks and hunger relief agencies, according to the agency. While no detailed final tally of purchases was available from the agency, an earlier release said a partial list of intended purchases (both fresh and processed) includes:
- More than $90 million worth of apples;
- $44 million in potatoes;
- $55 million in oranges;
- $48 million in grapes;
- $32 million in cranberries;
- $3.4 million in lemons;
- $1.7 million in blueberries;
- $1.5 million in strawberries;
- $1.4 million in pears;
- $700,000 in grapefruit; and
- $200,000 in apricots.
“Your comments will facilitate AMS’s evaluation of the Trade Mitigation purchase program and consideration for adjustments in the planning for and issuance of future solicitations under Trade Mitigation,” according to the release.
The USDA is asking these questions:
- From your perspective, what went well during round one of the Trade Mitigation purchase program?
- What challenges did you face during the Trade Mitigation purchase program?
- From your perspective, what did not work well during round one of the Trade Mitigation program?
- How could we improve the Trade Mitigation purchase process in future rounds?
- If you did not participate in the Trade Mitigation purchase program, could you share the reasons why?
Anyone who wishes to respond should do so before Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 by 1 p.m., Central Time.
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