Marcia L. Fudge

07/31/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/31/2020 17:39

Fudge, DeLauro, and Bustos Urge USDA Secretary to Stop Proposed Changes to Farmers to Families Food Box Program

WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to stop proposed changes to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

'We write out of concern for the Department of Agriculture's proposed changes to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and to urge you to stop implementation until the Department appropriately seeks public input on how these changes will impact farmers and families who access the program,' wrote Congresswomen DeLauro, Fudge, and Bustos. 'Until then, USDA should continue to award contracts to farmers based on their performance in prior rounds of the program.'

'While we appreciate USDA's effort to combat hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are concerned by the potential impact these new restrictions will have on farmers, families, and local food systems,' the Members continued. 'Limiting eligibility strictly to entities with the ability to procure all the required food categories will likely have implications on program costs and access, which must be fully understood before moving forward. Moreover, we are concerned these proposed changes move the program dangerously close to the Administration's flawed 'Harvest Box' proposal, which faced bipartisan opposition and never received Congressional authorization.'

A signed copy of the letter can be found here. DeLauro serves as Vice Chair of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Fudge is the Chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, and Bustos is a member of both the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Agriculture.