USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection, July 2018

USDA Foods - FDPIR Connection

News & Notes

Bison FDPIR Guide Rate Increased as of July 1, 2018


On July 1, 2018, a new Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) Monthly Distribution Guide Rate by Household Size went into effect to include a change in bison distribution. The inclusion of bison as a permanent USDA Food in FDPIR began this fiscal year with a limit of 1 unit of bison per person per month. Beginning July 1, 2018, the limit will be removed for at least the next 6 months and households may select bison up to the maximum distribution rate in the meat category, if they wish.

Friendly Reminder: If you are an Indian Tribal Organization or State agency that administers FDPIR, remember to update your Automated Inventory System and always use the new posted Guide Rate!

Shell Egg Pilot Expansion

Shell Eggs

We continue to receive feedback from Indian Tribal Organizations (ITO) participating in the shell egg pilot and to monitor and evaluate how the pilot is working. Tribes use the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order/Receipt System (FFAVORS) to place orders for shell eggs as part of their food package benefit. The shell egg pilot replaces the powdered egg mix participants receive each month with one dozen shell eggs. The shell eggs are delivered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (USDA DoD Fresh) produce vendor. 

Based on the positive feedback from the 14 participating ITOs, we are able to expand the pilot to 18 additional ITOs: Acoma Food Distribution Program, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, Pueblo of Zuni, Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, Colville Confederated Tribes, Lummi Indian Business Council, Makah Indian Tribe, Small Tribes of Western Washington, South Puget Inter Tribal Planning Agency, Spokane Tribe of Indians, Yakama Indian Nation, Kickapoo Tribe, Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation, and United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska.

The addition of these 18 ITOs will increase participation in the pilot to a total of 32 ITOs, which represents almost 31% of ITOs in FDPIR. The 18 ITOs were selected based on the USDA DoD Fresh produce vendor, on-hand local inventory of powdered egg mix, and the impact on the inventory of powdered egg mix at the National Multifood Warehouses. We will continue to evaluate the pilot and work collaboratively with DoD to improve and allow for future expansion of the shell egg pilot.

Shell Egg Distribution
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of the Indian Tribal Organizations participating in the shell egg pilot.

Conference Clips

Refresh, Renew, Refocus – NAFDPIR Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada

This year, more than 250 FDPIR food distribution staff descended upon Reno, Nevada, to spend the week learning and networking. The gathering, held every year, is the annual conference hosted by the National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR). The conference brings together program directors, certification staff, warehouse managers, and tribal nutritionists from across the 102 Indian Tribal Organizations and 3 State agencies that currently administer FDPIR across the country. A full week of training and break-out sessions on topics such as civil rights, eligibility and certification of households in FDPIR, nutrition education, best practices in budget, and the USDA DoD Fresh program, among other sessions, were provided.

During the conference, a Tribal leaders consultation meeting was also held with more than 15 Tribal leaders in attendance along with Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Brandon Lipps and Deputy Administrator for Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs Diane Kriviski as the USDA consulting officials (pictured below). Government-to-government dialogue centered around Farm Bill provisions released by the House and Senate Agricultural Committees, nutrition education, FDPIR funding, and 638 Authority for Tribal governments to administer nutrition programs.

Tribal Leaders Meeting at NAFDPIR Conference

Session Synopsis: Public Health Partnerships in Indian Country

This year during the NAFDPIR annual conference, staff from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) presented a session to highlight funding opportunities and efforts to support and partner with Tribes to strengthen their public health infrastructure and improve the health of their communities. CDC supports Tribes in their public health efforts through funding, supporting Tribes with surveillance and epidemiology and providing assistance to implement evidence-based programs that integrate cultural practices. Projects funded by CDC may address behavioral health, chronic diseases, and injury prevention. CDC’s work with Tribal Epidemiology Centers helps Tribes access information specific to their communities that can help inform decisions on how best to focus time and resources on public health topics. In fiscal year 2017, CDC provided approximately $44 million through grants and cooperative agreements to Tribal governments and Tribal Epidemiology Centers.   

Some of CDC’s specific funding opportunities include Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, Tribal Epidemiology Centers, and Tribal Practices for Wellness in Indian Country. Additional CDC investments in Indian Country have been made through other funding opportunities. Visit this page for more information.

FDPNE Grant Awards Announced

Congratulations to the 15 Indian Tribal Organizations who received Fiscal Year 2018 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education (FDPNE) Grants! USDA awarded the grants in July, totaling $991,950 across the 15 projects. The goal of the FDPNE grant is to enhance the nutrition knowledge of FDPIR participants and to foster positive lifestyle changes for eligible household members through nutrition education services. Examples of activities conducted by grantees include nutrition education classes, cooking demonstrations, taste testing of items available through FDPIR, and more!

 View the 2018 grant recipients and project summaries here!

Educational Display at Lac du Flambeau
As part of a previous FDPNE grant, Lac du Flambeau in Wisconsin developed educational displays for FDPIR participants to read when they come to pick up their monthly food package.

FDPIR Tribes Receive USDA Farm to School Funding

Congratulations to Cherokee Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians for receiving a 2018 Farm to School Grant! USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for entities, including Indian Tribal Organizations, to plan and implement farm to school programs.

Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, received Farm to School Planning grants to develop action plans to increase access to farm-fresh, traditional foods, and learning opportunities for tribal students.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Choctaw, Mississippi, and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Bayfield, Wisconsin, received Farm to School Implementation grants to grow fruits and vegetables and expose students to traditional indigenous foods while increasing economic opportunities in their community.

Check out the 2018 Farm to School List of Awardees to learn more about their farm to school projects!

Farm to School Grants, in addition to other USDA grants and loans, provide additional funding opportunities for Indian Tribal Organizations interested in improving their food system, providing nutrition education, and enhancing agricultural practices. 

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, an FDPIR administering agency and previous Farm to School Grantee, received a Farm to School Grant in 2015 to develop an aquaponics food production system. This past winter, the tribe hosted a fish harvest event and served fish tacos made with tilapia and lettuce harvested from their aquaponics system. Event participants enjoyed the tacos and even learned how to scale fish! More than 100 heads of lettuce can be produced in a week and will be used on the salad bar at Oneida Nation High School. Oneida Tribe is one of several Indian Tribal Organizations that have used the Farm to School Grant Program to further their food and agricultural programs. 

Interested in applying for a Farm to School Grant? The 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) will be released this fall!

Featured Food

Catfish is the Newest Traditional Food Offered to FDPIR

The FDPIR Food Package Review Work Group selected catfish as the next traditional food to offer through FDPIR. The product will be a 2-pound package with 8 unbreaded, skinless, boneless fillets that will each be approximately 4 ounces. We expect the product to be available later this summer.   

Did you know? National Catfish Day, June 25, was first celebrated in 1987 when President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation, after Congress passed a Joint Resolution calling for that designation. Catfish can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilled to blackened to pan-fried with a cornmeal coating. Try this delicious recipe for Skillet Catfish from What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Skillet Catfish

Skillet Catfish

Makes: 4 servings

Cook time: 20 minutes

Catfish fillets are coated in a spicy cornmeal rub and pan-fried until browned to perfection.


1/8 cup cornmeal* (yellow or blue cornmeal!)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 4-ounce catfish fillets*

2 teaspoons vegetable oil*

1 lemon (quartered)*

*USDA Food


1. Make the spice rub. Put the cornmeal, oregano, cayenne pepper, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper on a plate and combine well.

 2. Dredge both sides of the catfish in the spice mixture.

 3. Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to high.  

 4. When the skillet is hot, add the oil.  Add the fish and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked throughout.  

 5. Serve right away garnished with lemon wedges.

Source: USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Ordering Outlook

Dried Cranberries

Dried Cranberries to Make FDPIR Debut this Fall!

The FDPIR Food Package Review Work Group recently voted to introduce dried cranberries, on a limited basis, to the FDPIR food package benefit. This year, purchasing raisins was not an option due to their poor harvest season. Thus, USDA presented the opportunity to purchase dried cranberries in the interim while the raisins are not available.

The dried cranberries will come in a 35 lb. case with 300 small packs of dried cranberries. USDA plans to make the dried cranberries available in the fall time-frame, and they will be offered as an additional item to all FDPIR participants. Stay tuned for their arrival!

After participants have had a chance to taste the dried cranberries, the FDPIR Food Package Review Work Group will evaluate market conditions for all FDPIR dried fruit and feedback on the dried cranberries to determine which dried fruits will be offered in the future.

Resource Roundup

New Webinar Recordings: Best Practices when Receiving Produce from the USDA DoD Fresh Program

Mixed Fruit

Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) that participate in FDPIR are able to order fresh produce through the USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program as part of their monthly food package. The USDA DoD Fresh Program, managed by USDA, offers a variety of American-grown produce, including seasonal items such as asparagus, cherry tomatoes, avocado, kiwi, peaches, and many others! USDA recently recorded two webinars that describe how this program works and provide best practices for inspecting and handling USDA DoD Fresh produce. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Policy Corner

Indian Tribal Households – Verification with the CDIB Card

As a friendly reminder, the Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, or CDIB card, is an acceptable form of verification for proof of Tribal enrollment in FDPIR. For all Indian Tribal Households living in approved near areas served by FDPIR or in the state of Oklahoma, proof of Tribal enrollment is required for at least one member of the household. The CDIB card may be used, but it is not required. Along with the CDIB card, other forms of documentation are acceptable including an official card, letter, or other documentation issued by an Indian Tribe which indicates that the individual is a tribal member, or an official document from a Bureau of Indian Affairs office or a Tribe/Nation which states the individual named is a Federally-recognized member.

Out & About

Powered Up for Year-Round Service!

Colorado River Indian Tribe generator

As you cross through mostly desert land, and just before reaching the river that divides the state of Arizona and California, you come upon a thriving food distribution program just around the bend. The Colorado River Indian Tribes, who USDA staff recently had the opportunity to visit, operate the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations serving a caseload of approximately 400 individuals. Most impressive is their transformation to a grocery store distribution model for their clients, weekly home-delivery stops, a well-accompanied kitchen to conduct cooking demonstrations, and a new garden onsite, just outside their front doors where clients of all ages gather to plant, sow, and harvest. Colorado River Indian Tribes also recently received an infrastructure grant from FNS to replace their freezer and make electrical upgrades to their warehouse, including a new generator. Although viewed as more “behind-the-scene” improvements, the recent upgrades complete the program and, most importantly, contribute to running a smooth distribution center for all their clients year-round.

Colorado River Indian Tribe FDPIR grocery store distribution model

Program Spotlight

At the Heart of Spirit Lake FDPIR is a New Demonstration Kitchen!

In 2015, Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota began renovations on the new home for its Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, but with a different look: a grocery store set-up for participants to select their food package items. The building, previously used to house manufacturing equipment, was completely transformed to a new environment filled with all the grocery store features. In 2016, the Tribe officially opened its new doors, and in the same year, received additional funding from FNS to design and construct a demonstration kitchen to conduct nutrition education in the same building. The new kitchen, just completed in May 2018, will be in full use starting this summer with FDPIR youth attending cooking camp while they are out of school. Design of a fall curriculum specifically for FDPIR clients is also currently underway. Beginning in the fall, nutrition-related classes and activities will be held throughout the month for FDPIR clients of all ages. Spirit Lake Tribe’s new kitchen really is the place to be!

Spirit Lake Tribe's new kitchen

Technology Synopsis

Retirement of Doug Friesen, AIS Support

Doug Friesen, Information Technology Specialist at FNS, retired on July 21, 2018. Since 1993, Doug managed the Automated Inventory System (AIS). Over the past 25+ years, he has made many updates to AIS to accommodate changes to the food package and to incorporate new products while handling the day-to-day AIS help desk calls. We want to thank Doug for all his years of service supporting FDPIR and wish him the best in his retirement. For assistance with AIS during this time of transition, please contact the WBSCM Service Desk or call (877) 927-2648. 

A New Look for the WBSCM Help Document Library

A new look was introduced to the WBSCM help document library in July 2018! Check the WBSCM portal announcements for an overview and guidance for navigating the updated help document library.

To access the WBSCM document library, navigate to Help -> Training -> and then drill down through the different types of training materials, which include:

  • Work Instructions: step-by-step guidance for common transactions, organized by role and business function
  • Job Aids: reference documents for general help, working with reports, and more
  • Release Notes: summary of changes, the roles impacted, and links to related training materials impacted by monthly maintenance and system updates

In addition to changes in appearance, the following options for working with training materials are available:

  1. If available, alternate formats are listed across the top of the screen. For example, a work instruction can also be viewed as a quick reference (without screenshots) or as a viewable/interactive simulation.
  2. By default, training materials display in the web browser in HTML format. To print or save a copy to your computer, use the Print PDF link or use the Download link to save an editable copy (usually Word).

As a reminder, materials in the library are regularly updated to correspond to the current best practices, application enhancements, and system requirements. If you are working with a saved or printed copy, check to see if a newer version is available.

For additional assistance contact the WBSCM Service Desk or call (877) 927-2648.

WBSCM uPerform Update

How to Sign Up for the USDA Foods E-Letter


1. Click here. Or you can go to the Food Distribution website and click on the red envelope on the row of social media icons on the top right of the page.

2. Enter your email address and click "Submit."

3. Check the boxes to select your topic(s) of interest. For these e-letters, scroll down to the Food Distribution category and click the plus sign to the left of the check box to expand the list and view all the topics. Select any of these topics to receive the general e-letter plus the corresponding program-specific e-letter(s) of your choice:

*USDA Foods --> receive all "USDA Foods from Farm to Plate" e-letters

*Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) --> receive "FDPIR Connection"

*Schools/Child Nutrition Commodity Programs --> receive "Spotlight on Schools"

4. Visit the subscriber preferences page any time you would like to review, add, or delete subscriptions. Questions? Contact

5. Share the e-letter and new subscriber link with interested colleagues and friends!