WASHINGTON, July 12, 2022 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with South Carolina under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with South Carolina 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.”
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) will work with a network of distributors and farmers to purchase food from at least 120 farmers, including at least 60 underserved and rural farmers and ranchers, and distribute the food to at least 24 counties in need. Additionally, SCDA will partner with the Catawba Indian Nation, the only federally recognized tribal nation in South Carolina, to further increase the impact of program funding and to reach members of the Nation.
SCDA will also work with other third-party partners to assist in the development and management of the program, including evaluation of the program’s results, and expects to facilitate further market development for farmers that will be sustained beyond the funding period.
“This agreement is a testament to the partnerships we’ve worked hard to develop. We worked with stakeholders across South Carolina to develop a proposal that ensures the purchase of local foods from rural and underserved farmers, as well as the distribution of local foods to underserved areas. We’re excited to get to work on this collaborative effort,” said Commissioner Hugh E. Weathers.
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.
More information about the program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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