The following letter was sent by the Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association following the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box selection process.
May 14, 2020
The Honorable Bruce Summers
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Administrator Summers:
On behalf of our associations representing the full fresh produce supply chain, we extend our continued gratitude and support for establishing and so quickly standing up the Farmers to Families Program. The large majority of our members who received contracts are beginning to deliver boxes in the coming days, fulfilling exactly what the Department and the Administration had hoped to see.
For the future, we’d like to suggest working closely with the industry on any adjustments in the program or process for evaluation of success. We are sure that together with USDA, nonprofits receiving produce, and our members there will be lessons learned as we undertake this entirely new process. We offer our full support in any way possible to help you achieve your goals with the program.
There are important lessons that we all are already learning and need to act on. We do that in the spirit of perfecting a new program in a sincere desire to help. In talking with many members across the country, companies are willing to consult with your team in any appropriate way to provide background on the day-to-day efficiencies in the produce supply chain; ways in which companies can most cost effectively and efficiently deliver fresh produce to those in need; and performance standards that USDA can audit to ensure successful execution.
Please call on us at any time; we and our members stand ready to help.
Tom Stenzel & Cathy Burns
President & CEO, CEO
United Fresh Produce Association & Produce Marketing Association
The Honorable Sonny Perdue, USDA Secretary
The Honorable Stephen Censky, USDA Deputy Secretary
The Honorable Greg Ibach, Under Secretary, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs