USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection

View as a webpage

U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Foods from Farm to Plate

FDPIR Connection, January 2021

zigzag line

News & Notes

FDPIR Participants holding fresh vegetables

FY21 FDPNE Grant Application Open

The Request for Applications (RFA) for the Fiscal Year 2021 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education (FDPNE) Grant is now open on!  The overall goal of the FDPNE grant program is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for or participating in FDPIR will make healthy food choices consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA MyPlate guidance.

Each year FNS awards just under $1 million to an average of 15 Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or State Agencies that administer the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) to conduct nutrition education projects. Projects should focus on how USDA Foods in the FDPIR food package may be used to contribute to a healthy diet.  The grantee shall work with appropriate organizations or partners to provide food and nutrition information, recipes, or cooking demonstrations, as appropriate for households who participate or are eligible to participate in the FDPIR program.  Nutrition education and information provided should be specific to the foods included in the FDPIR food package.

The application deadline is March 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested applicants are encouraged to carefully read the entire RFA to ensure they submit all the requested forms and information. The Related Documents tab on includes the RFA and supporting documents such as a sample project timeline, sample budget narrative, and application template to help with the application process. 

Interested in learning more? Visit the FDPNE webpage to read about this year's grant opportunity and projects funded in previous years.  Interested in applying?  Read the RFA and watch the technical assistance webisodes to learn more about the application process. 

conference icon

FNS Hosts Virtual FDPIR Food Package Review Workgroup Strategic Planning Meeting

On November 9, 10, 16, and 17, 2020, members of the FDPIR Food Package Review Workgroup met virtually for their yearly strategic planning meeting. The meeting covered a variety of topics focused on enhancing the food package, including guide rate changes and new foods as well as the CARES Act Food Package, created to respond to the pandemic.

This year, FDPIR participants will receive walleye as a traditional food, and frozen strawberries, pulled pork, pork patties, orange juice, and dried cherries will be available as bonus items. FNS provided the workgroup an update on the status of the shell egg pilot – 86 percent of all ITOs and State agencies that administer FDPIR are receiving shell eggs! The workgroup discussed a proposal to consolidate the egg category with other protein categories in the Guide Rate in response to the majority of ITOs that have already transitioned to shell eggs. The workgroup will vote on the egg category consolidation proposal this year.

Workgroup members also discussed frozen fruit and vegetable pack sizes and procurement of the holiday ham. Workgroup members also discussed the transition from the Automated Inventory System (AIS) to the Integrated Food Management System (IFMS) and provided feedback on that process. 

Category Consolidation for Dry Cereal, Oats, and Farina

On September 1, 2020, the FDPIR Monthly Distribution Guide Rate was updated to include the last category consolidation for grains, which combined hot and cold cereal into one category. The previous grain category consolidations combined flour and bakery mix into one category and pasta, rice, crackers, and tortillas into one category. The FDPIR Food Package Review Workgroup voted to consolidate these categories based on the most recent nutritional assessment of the food package. The food package was found to provide more than double the servings of grains that are recommended for a healthy diet.

The most recent category consolidation for dry cereal, oats, and farina allows FDPIR participants to choose any combination of dry cereal, oats, or farina, up to 2 units.

The example below provides a visualization of how participants will be able to select dry cereal, oats, and farina under the new FDPIR Monthly Distribution Guide Rate:

Grain Units

The package size for the oats changed from 42 ounces to 18 ounces to better align with the other cereals in the newly consolidated category. The package size range for all cereals in the cereal category is now 12 ounces to 18 ounces. The reduced pack size is more convenient for smaller households and offers FDPIR participants more variety and flexibility in the combined cereal category.

Policy Corner

FDPIR Demonstration Project: Solicitation Announcement

FNS is excited to announce that it is accepting proposals from eligible Tribal Organizations to participate in a 2018 Farm Bill Demonstration Project. The demonstration project allows for one or more Tribal organization(s) that administer FDPIR to enter into self-determination contracts to purchase USDA Foods for their Tribe.  Self-determination contracts are intended to give Tribes maximum involvement in the administration of programs and services provided to them by the Federal government and to allow them to target the programs and services to the needs of their local communities.  Under this demonstration project, a selected eligible Tribal Organization will supplant an existing FDPIR-approved food for another of their choosing that is of similar or higher nutritional value for inclusion in the FDPIR food package.  Demonstration project criteria and proposal submission details may be found here.  For Tribal Organizations interested in learning more, you can watch a recording of our webinar here. Proposals will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2021.

Program Spotlight

FDPIR CARES Act Food Package

FNS is using funds provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to make additional food available to FDPIR participants during fiscal year 2021 in response to COVID-19. The CARES Act Food Package is a temporary supplement to the regular food package that is available to all Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) and State agencies that administer FDPIR and will be available for distribution beginning January 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

The CARES Act Food Package is optional, not mandatory, and can provide up to 21 additional units of USDA Foods to each participant up to the maximum units allowed for each category. The following maximums have been established for each category:

List of food categories and corresponding number of units offered

Interested ITOs and State agencies must submit an application for approval before the 10th of the month to begin distribution the following month. For example, ITOs and State agencies that would like to distribute a CARES Act Food Package beginning March 1, 2021, must submit their application to their Regional Office by February 10, 2021. ITOs and State agencies are not required to offer the CARES Act Food Package every month and can decide what months are most feasible for their operation. 

ITOs and State agencies are also not required to offer the maximum units for each category and can offer as much or as little as they would like up to the maximum units allowed. This flexibility allows ITOs and State agencies the opportunity to select the amount of food and types of food that works best with their current operations.

All USDA Foods distributed as part of the CARES Act Food Package must be tracked in the Automated Inventory System (AIS) or Integrated Food Management System (IFMS). For more information about how to apply to distribute a CARES Act Food Package, please contact your FNS Regional Office.

OKTEP logo

FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Training Project Updates

In fiscal year 2019, the Oklahoma Tribal Engagement Partners (OKTEP) were selected to plan, design, and implement a nutrition education curriculum that will be used to prepare local FDPIR staff to provide basic nutrition education lessons and activities to FDPIR participants. This past year, OKTEP has developed a culturally appropriate nutrition training curriculum with the intent to conduct four in-person training classes this fiscal year. Due to the pandemic and the impact it has had on tribal communities, FNS has decided to postpone the in-person trainings until further notice. FNS will work with OKTEP to identify additional opportunities to provide nutrition education and resources in a virtual setting. We will provide additional information on the status of this project in the coming months.

Featured Food

Bonus USDA Foods: Pork Patties and Dried cherries

Pork patties and dried tart cherries are new items available to order from the National warehouse in addition to other bonus items, including frozen strawberries, pulled pork, and orange juice cups! Keep reading to learn more about these exciting bonus foods.

Pork patties are fully cooked and mildly seasoned and can be used in a variety of ways. Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast sandwich or breakfast bowl by adding a pork patty to your eggs, cheese, and bread, or you can make a breakfast bowl by ditching the bread and layering your eggs, cheese, and pork patty in a bowl. If you want to get creative, chop up pork patties and add them to your burritos, chili, or casserole, the possibilities are endless! Pork patties come in a 2-pound package and must be kept frozen until ready to use. Refer to the product package for heating instructions and check out our pork patty product information sheet for more information and delicious recipes.

Pork Patties

Pictured: Pork Patties

Dried tart cherries are an excellent way to add more fruit to your diet. They are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and can be a convenient snack when you are on the go. Add dried cherries to oatmeal or farina to enhance the flavor and texture of your breakfast cereal. Dried cherries can also be used to sweeten baked items such as breads and muffins. Dried cherries come in a 2-pound package and should be stored in a cool, dry place. Check out our dried cherries product information sheet for more information and easy recipes!

dried cherries

Pictured: Dried Cherries

Resource Roundup

Updated USDA Foods Product Information Sheets for Household Programs

You may have noticed that the USDA Foods Product Information Sheets have a new look and feel. In addition to the fresh design, all of the information has been updated, so FDPIR program operators and participants have the latest nutrition and product information for all USDA Foods offered in the FDPIR food package. There are also USDA Foods Product Information Sheets for bonus items including the Pork Patties and Dried Cherries. Each product information sheet also features two new recipes to provide participants with some great ideas for how to use each food product.

If you have questions about the USDA Foods Product Information Sheets, please contact

new food factsheet

Pictured: Updated Product Information Sheet

New Resources on the FDPIR Sharing Gallery

The FDPIR Sharing Gallery is a source of inspiration and sharing of nutrition education materials, recipes, photos, grant opportunities, and more for Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) participating in FDPIR.  We have recently added a few grant opportunities that may be of interest to ITOs participating in food sovereignty work or hoop house initiatives. 

In addition, we have added a few cooking demonstration videos submitted by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to the digital resources sections.  These digital resources may be especially helpful now as many tribes are conducting all their nutrition education virtually. 

New items are added when they become available, and program operators and nutrition educators are always welcome to send their materials and suggestions to!

FDPIR Nutrition Education class

Technology Synopsis

IFMS Transition Continues

In January, the third group of Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) has transitioned to the Integrated Food Management System (IFMS). There are now 18 ITOs using IFMS. Since its launch in October, ITOs have completed over 1899 issuance orders, providing their communities with over 163,275 food items. More than 350 households have been certified, including 46 new households.

ITOs who have completed their transition to IFMS include:

List of ITOs that have transitioned

At the start of each month, a new group of ITOs will move from AIS to IFMS. The Transition Team is actively recruiting for upcoming IFMS launch cohorts. Please direct any questions about the IFMS transition program or provide scheduling preferences to the IFMS Transition Team Manager at

Stay Up-to-Date with IFMS NewsWatch

IFMS NewsWatch, which launched in December 2020, is a specialized eletter for ITOs, FNS staff, and others who will be using IFMS or support FDPIR. Each month, subscribers will receive updates about IFMS features, transition status, and preparation tips.

New IFMS users are automatically subscribed to IFMS NewsWatch. To subscribe or change subscription preferences, contact

IFMS NewsWatch e-letter

Finding WBSCM Resources

Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) is under continuous improvement through monthly development activities, and help resources are regularly updated to reflect the latest system changes and recommended processes. Available resource types include work instructions, job aids, simulations, course materials, and release notes.

To access the document library from WBSCM, navigate to Help Training; then drill down through the categories, user groups, and functional areas or topics.

Other methods for finding WBSCM resources include:

1. Use on-screen help while performing a transaction. To find related resources without leaving the current transaction, expand the Options menu and select Help. This will automatically open the related document or a list of relevant documents in a new window. These resources can be referenced without interrupting work in the current transaction.

Figure 1: On-screen Help

Figure 1: On-screen Help

2. Search for documents by keyword. Within the document library, enter one or more keywords in the search bar at the top of the screen, then click the Advanced Search magnifying glass. All documents that contain the keyword(s) in the title or content will be listed in the results.

Figure 2: WBSCM Document Library Search Bar

Figure 2: WBSCM Document Library Search Bar

3. Access links from the announcements banner. On the Training page, the announcements window summarizes recent changes to WBSCM resources and provides links to recently updated training documents as well as role-based resources for different types of transactions.

Figure 3: Training Homepage Announcements Example

Figure 3: Training Homepage Announcements Example

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

System Reminders

  • 2/1/2021 – Go Live for IFMS Transition Group 4: Tremendous Ten

  • 2/12/2021 – IFMS Release 1.3

  • 2/21/2021 – WBSCM Enhancement Release
  • 2/24/2021 – AIS Release 03.2021

  • 3/1/2021 – Go Live for IFMS Transition Group 5 

  • 3/15/2021 – FFAVORS Release 3.1

  • 4/1/2021 – Go Live for IFMS Transition Group 6

Planned dates for system activities are subject to change.

How to Stay in the Know with USDA Foods

1. Click here to review or modify your subscription preferences. 

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"

*USDA Foods in Schools --> receive "Spotlight on Schools"

To receive webinar announcements, scroll down to the Webinars category and select your program(s) of interest.

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!

Learn more at

or contact us at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.