11 June 2022, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Iowa under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). LFPA funding will enable the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to purchase and distribute Iowa grown and produced food to underserved communities.
“USDA is excited to partner with Iowa to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
IDALS will utilize LFPA funding to create a sustainable program that increases access to local food and improves supply chain resiliency through partnerships with local underserved producers and underserved communities. It is expected that at least 300 farmers and ranchers will benefit from the program. IDALS will establish a tiered equitable purchasing standard. Focus will be placed on underserved producers, such as farmers of color, women farmers, refugee and immigrant farmers, LGBTQ farmers, and Veteran farmers.
The program will create 2,000 distribution sites with food banks, food hub distribution partners, and the Meskwaki Nation. Additionally, the Food Hub Managers Working group’s eight food hubs will purchase, aggregate, distribute and market products from local producers across the state of Iowa. In total, IDALS plans to purchase and distribute $1.8 million of locally grown foods to underserved communities.
The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Through this program, USDA will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
AMS looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.