Foodservice industry accounts for 60% of potato sales
NPC, state potato organizations, and other fresh produce associations sent a letter to USDA on April 6 requesting $5 billion in payments to compensate growers and Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act licensed dealers for the losses created by the disruption to the foodservice industry. The foodservice industry accounts for an estimated 40 percent of all produce consumed in America and 60 percent of the potato industry’s sales.
In addition to the $5 billion Produce Market Stabilization Fund, the letter recommends USDA use the nutrition assistance funds allocated in the COVID II and COVID III stimulus bills to:
- Facilitate fresh produce purchases, separate from existing programs, for redistribution to food banks, schools and other emergency feeding sites;
- Allocate $200 million to replenish funds for the DoD fresh program;
- Facilitate the Emergency Feeding Assistance Program’s ability to utilizing existing DoD Fresh and USDA vendors for procurement;
- Increase the WIC cash value benefits for fruits and vegetables to $20 a month per participant, from the current rate of $9 for children and $11 for women; and
- Grant schools the flexibility to use their Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program funding to provide fresh fruits or vegetables to complement existing emergency feeding meals and allow schools to request additional funds from section 32.
Potato organizations that signed on include Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Empire State Potato Growers, Idaho Potato Commission, Maine Potato Board, Michigan Potato Growers, Inc, Potato Growers of Michigan, Minnesota Area II Potato Council, Montana Potato Improvement Association, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, Oregon Potato Commission, Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers, United Potato Growers of America, United Potato Growers of Idaho, Virginia Potato & Vegetable Growers, Washington State Potato Commission, and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers.