The Department of Agriculture will invest $ 1.5B in school meals as supply chain problems continue

One of the latest victims of the decline is a school restaurant, which the organization plans to renovate.


The Department of Agriculture announced on Friday that it plans to invest up to $ 1.5 billion in the school feeding program as the issue of supply chain spreads across the US economy.

Funds will be made available through the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation, which was used to assist farmers with trade reduction payments. Funds will be divided into three parts: $ 1 billion for schools to buy food for their meal plans; another $ 300 million for the provinces to buy food to distribute to schools; and another $ 200 million will be used in partnership agreements to purchase local school meals.

Most of the aid will be $ 1 billion to cover the cost of purchasing "home-cooked, unprocessed or lightly digested foods such as fresh fruit, milk, cheese, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, rice and more," said Stacey Dean, deputy. USDA subordinate secretary.

"A big part of what we need to do is to provide as much stability and forecasting as possible at an incredibly uncertain time," Dean told reporters by telephone on Friday.

Each district will allocate funds to schools based on student enrollment, with a minimum for each district to ensure that smaller schools are not lagging behind. In total, Supply Chain Assistance Funds is expected to provide an increase of up to 100,000 school resources in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Additional government assistance in school feeding programs comes as program operators continue to face unprecedented challenges ranging from procurement disruptions and staff shortages.

The remaining assistance will provide provincial funding for local school food purchases and USDA Foods, which are suitable food products from small to large retailers.

Schools have provided about 500 million lunches per month from September 2018 to May 2019. This number has dropped to a catastrophic 2020-21 school year to 330 million lunches per month, according to the USDA.

Separately, the agency has announced the cessation of the food service, known as the "Free Summer Option," extended to June 2022. The exemption allows schools to provide students with free food. Republicans in Congress have criticized the Democrats' proposal to make free universal food permanently because of the potential price.

In addition to allowing for higher reimbursement rates, the USDA also gives schools more freedom when it comes to meeting dietary guidelines and extending nationwide compliance during the 2021-22 school year to make all meals free.