Get our newsletters

Secretary of Agriculture announces $10 million to support Pennsylvania agriculture producers, charitable foods system

During a visit to Sauder’s Eggs yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced a $10 million contract with Feeding Pennsylvania to acquire surplus agriculture products from Pennsylvania producers to be funneled through the charitable food system to put fresh, local foods into the hands of Pennsylvanians in need.
“If there’s anything worse than the waste of fresh, local food and the labor of love from Pennsylvania farmers, it’s the hunger that more than 2 million Pennsylvanians are facing every day as we fight COVID-19,” said Redding. “This is $10 million in relief for Pennsylvania farmers who have lost markets but have not swayed in their commitment to nourishing our commonwealth. It’s $10 million in fresh, local food to go on the plates of families who were unsure of where their next meal would come from.”

The department’s Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program helps to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry in all 67 counties and reduce waste of agricultural surplus by making connections between production agriculture and the non-profit sector.

Originally enacted into law in 2010, the program was first funded in 2015 by Gov. Tom Wolf at $1 million annually. In 2017-2018, the program funding was increased to $1.5 million annually.

In addition to the $1.5 million in state funds, the program has been awarded an additional $10 million – $5 million for dairy-only purchases and $5 million to split amongst a variety of products like fruit, vegetables, meat, and eggs – with funds from the state’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocation. These funds will be used over the course of the next four months to purchase excess product from Pennsylvania farmers and distribute them to all 67 counties through 13 partners that are members of the Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania networks of food banks.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.