Food banks to benefit from Trade Mitigation Program

Food banks to benefit from Trade Mitigation Program

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Trump administration sets in motion a 1.2 billion dollar program aimed at helping farmers struggling due to the trade wars. This investment is part of the USDA's $12 billion trade mitigation program. 

The USDA announces its first payment will be $4.7 billion dollars,, that will go to producers. On top of that the government will buy more than a billion dollars worth of surplus food that will benefit families on nutrition assistance programs.

The Department of Agriculture's initial surplus purchase is focused on markets directly targeted by foreign restrictions. It will buy about $559 million worth of pork, $93 million worth of apples, $85 million in dairy products, and $85 million worth of pistachios.

The USDA will begin distributing that to food banks at the beginning of next year.

"This would just give us additional food to offer to the agencies and the clients and the families that we serve," said David Weaver, South Plains Food Bank CEO. "The one wonderful thing about this is that it is really nutritious healthy food it's the kind of foods that we encourage families to take advantage of."

This initiative won't resolve the nation's food insecurity issue, but Weaver said he's optimistic there will be some sort of change in policy. 

"It's a one time shot hopefully the trade relations between the U.S. and some of our normal buyers will go back to an even keel," said Weaver. "We would love to see that type of investment in feeding programs on a continuing basis."

The Ag Department usually distributes 700 million pounds of food through state agencies to the nation's largest food bank network, but that number is expected to more than double this year under the administration's program.

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