The U.S. Department of Agriculture laid out a two prong approach to assisting the agriculture community with passage of The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. One was a direct payment to farmers, the other was The Farm to Families Food Program. The latter will send money to some CNY distributors to provide produce boxes to area food banks.

The USDA program will purchase more than 15-thousand boxes per week through Upstate Growers and Packers using George’s Produce in Clinton, Mosher’s Produce in Hamilton, and Russo’s Produce in Syracuse. Category 1 will have Mosher's providing Fruit and Vegetable boxes to the Central New York Food Bank, Mercy Works, and Grow NYC. 34 weeks of supplies have been ordered giving growers a chance when as this year's harvest season matures.

Smith Packing also received orders from the USDA program for 6,000 mixed/variety boxes of dairy products. Kreimheld Dairy and Queensboro in Madison County will provide dairy products and fluid milk while Smith Packing will provide processed/cooked meat. The boxes will be distributed to Central NY Food Bank and the Rochester Food Bank.

Applications were a cooperative effect of the packing companies working through the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Oneida and Madison Counties.

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