U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on June 8 that the department would invest $ 4 billion in federal, state and local programs to get the nation’s food systems back on track.

The new Supply Chain Disruption Working Group, of which Vilsack has been appointed co-chair, will guide efforts to ‘diagnose’ and resolve the country’s many supply chain bottlenecks, in particular in food and agriculture, including the labor crisis.

Vilsack said the funding will focus on four areas: production, processing, distribution and markets. The move is part of the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” initiative. President Biden’s approval of Executive Order 14017, which aims to provide support to the country’s supply chain, on February 24 this year is also tied to the overall goal of stabilizing the supply chain. American, added Vilsack.

“The Build Back Better initiative will make significant investments to build a food system that is more resilient to shocks, delivering greater value to producers and workers, and providing consumers with an affordable selection of healthy foods produced and purchased locally and regionally by farmers. farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds, ”Vilsack said in a press release. “I am confident that USDA investments will spur billions more in leveraged finance from the private sector and others as this initiative gains traction across the country.”

It is not yet clear how the funding will be allocated, as Vilsack said there is research needed first on where the needs are most critical, especially where processors need support. He said his department plans to contact state and local governments and assess their interest in funding. The investment also aims to create more equity for consumers and industry stakeholders.

The USDA also recently announced a $ 1 billion purchase of food for food insecure Americans after the pandemic-born Farmers to Families Food Box program expired, bringing the total investment to $ 5 billion.

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