Learn More About Blueberries, USDA Procurement Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases 100% domestically produced and processed food products to support agricultural producers and grow demand for U.S. agricultural products. The various programs, collectively known as USDA Foods, are purchased and delivered to schools, food banks and households in communities across the country. The programs play a vital role in our nation’s food security. 

The U.S. highbush blueberry industry benefits from multiple procurement programs, including: the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Section 32 (formerly known as the “Bonus Buy” program) and the Trade Mitigation Programs. Since 2013, USDA Foods has purchased 61,211,568 million pounds of frozen and dried highbush blueberries worth $79,907,143. (For annual AMS purchase summaries, click here).  An additional $1.7 million was allocated for blueberry purchases under the Trade Mitigation Program in FY2019.

National School Lunch Program: The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) maintains a list of available food items for the NSLP. In fiscal year 2019, frozen highbush blueberries (30 lb. case and 12/2.5 lb. bag) were included on the “USDA Foods Available List for School Year 2019 for Schools and Institutions.” The North American Blueberry Council (NABC) is working with USDA Foods to add dried highbush blueberries to the list for the 2020 school year.

Section 32 (formerly known as the “Bonus Buy” program): Under Section 32 of the Act of August 24, 1935, USDA may purchase and distribute agricultural products and processed foods to various food nutrition assistance programs as a way of diverting them from the normal channels of trade and commerce. USDA accepts proposals from industry on a rolling basis. NABC submits proposals on behalf of the U.S. highbush blueberry industry based on input from the newly formed NABC AMS Procurement Task Force of the NABC Legislative Committee. Below is a flow chart demonstrating how the process works:

AMS issues solicitations and purchases commodities on an ongoing basis. Approved vendors submit bids through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system, the fully integrated, web-based ordering and procurement system for USDA Foods purchases.

Learn more about becoming a USDA Foods vendor here