USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection, April 2021

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

FDPIR Connection, April 2021

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News & Notes

Walleye Recipes

FDPIR Guide Rate Adds Walleye as a New Traditional Food

The FDPIR Guide Rate, effective March 1, 2021, has been updated to include walleye as a new traditional food! Walleye will soon be available for fair share distribution this spring. Walleye is a flaky white fish with a mild flavor and can be prepared in a variety of ways. The walleye fillets are individually frozen, skinless, and boneless and will be packed in a 1-pound package. The update to the FDPIR Guide Rate is reflected in the latest AIS version 03.2021. 

Walleye offers a variety of health benefits. Including walleye and other seafood in your diet helps to meet protein needs and boosts intake of vitamins and healthy fats and fatty acids. A 4-ounce walleye fillet counts as 4 ounce-equivalents for the MyPlate Protein Food Group. MyPlate recommends eating a variety of protein foods throughout the week, including at least 8 ounces of seafood.

FNS worked with the Midwest Region to develop a collection of delicious walleye recipes that are healthy and easy to prepare, including:

  • New England Style Fish Chowder
  • Manhattan Style Fish Chowder
  • Baked Breaded Fish (prepared two ways!)
  • Seafood Creole
  • Jambalaya

Check out these tasty recipes today!

Boxed goods

Update on the FDPIR CARES Act Food Package

Forty tribes are approved to distribute the CARES Act food package. The CARES Act food package provides up to an additional 21 units of USDA Foods per person, per month to eligible households. Approved tribes can distribute the CARES Act food package until Sept 30th. If your ITO is interested in distributing a CARES Act food package, please submit an application to your Regional Office before May 10th to start distribution on June 1st.

Resource Roundup

Program participant using resource

FDPIR Sharing Gallery

USDA FNS has compiled existing nutrition education resources for the FDPIR audience in the FDPIR Sharing Gallery. These resources can be used to provide food and nutrition information to FDPIR participants, especially when face-to-face interaction is limited.

Resources have been organized by format type and are updated regularly. 

  • Handouts can be printed and distributed or shared online with program participants.
  • Videos can be used as part of a larger training or presentation or to provide inspiration and ideas to FDPIR program participants.
  • Cookbooks and recipes can be used to provide participants with ideas about how to utilize foods found in their FDPIR food package.

If you have any questions about where to find a particular resource, how to best utilize the resources included in the sharing gallery, or if you are interested in contributing content to the sharing gallery, please reach out to us at

Policy Corner

FDPIR CARES Act Infrastructure Grant

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed on March 27, 2020, provided FDPIR with $50,000,000 in additional funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic with facility improvements and equipment upgrades.  Ninety-five (95) programs received grants and will use the funds to help prevent coronavirus transmission through purchases, such as personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and sanitizing stations. Additionally, many grantees received funds for facility improvements and equipment upgrades such as building renovations and additions; purchasing generators and HVAC systems; and expanding parking pavement and awnings to promote drive-thru distribution models. Highlighted below are three projects from three different regions:  Mountain Plains, Western, and Midwest.

Trenton Indian Service Area - Mountain Plains Region  

The Trenton Indian Service Area (TISA) received grant funds for a 36’ x 36’ addition to the FDPIR warehouse which allows for increased storage and provides space for the program to start grocery store-style distribution.  TISA is expanding their clinic, which freed up space in the building that the clinic shared with the FDPIR program. The Tribal Council decided that instead of adding on to the warehouse, the program could use the existing 35’ x 50’ space that became available when the clinic moved.  The program requested a budget modification to use the funds that were originally intended for the addition to renovate the existing space.

TISA renovations

Trenton Indian Services Area renovations

Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association - Western Region

The Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) received funding to replace plumbing and complete upgrades to their restroom and kitchen facilities. They purchased touchless faucets and installed soap and paper towel dispensers. These upgrades ensure that both participants and staff have the facilities needed to complete thorough handwashing, a recommended practice for preventing transmission of COVID-19.

Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association Renovations

Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association renovations

Red Cliff - Midwest Region

Red Cliff received a grant for program upgrades necessary to respond to COVID-19. Red Cliff purchased a vehicle to assist with the increased demand for home deliveries. They also purchased two pallet jacks to allow for movement of foods around the warehouse while limiting close contact between workers. The Tribe is also accepting bids for the purchase and installation of a new walk-in freezer and retro-fitting the old freezer into a cooler. Red Cliff also had remaining FDPIR administrative funds from FY2019, which they used to build an addition that will be used as a certification office. This new space allows participants to enter a dedicated office space in order to maintain social distancing from other workers and participants.

Red Cliff Renovations

Red Cliff renovations

FDPIR logo

Self Determination Coming to FDPIR

Section 4003(b) of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 directed USDA to establish a demonstration project 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.  On January 14, 2021, FNS released a Federal Notice to solicit proposals for eligible Tribal Organizations to participate.  Proposals were due March 15, 2021.  FNS intends to make awards this federal fiscal year – stay tuned!

Program Spotlight

St. Regis staff

St. Regis USDA DOD Fresh Program and Shell Egg Pilot

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) in New York recently made several exciting changes to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In October 2020, SRMT implemented the USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the response has been exceptional. According to SRMT Food Distribution Program (FDP) staff, participants enjoy the variety of high quality, domestically produced fruits and vegetables included as part of the monthly FDPIR food package. SRMT’s latest USDA DoD Fresh order included over 20 different fruits and vegetables, including locally grown butternut squash and yellow onions. FDP staff noted that participants are using all the fresh fruits and vegetables available to them and anticipate the seasonal items will be popular this spring and summer.

With the success of USDA DoD Fresh, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) invited SRMT to participate in the Shell Egg Pilot, starting in January 2021. As part of the pilot, shell eggs are included with USDA DoD Fresh orders and FDPIR participants receive one dozen shell eggs each month in lieu of the powdered egg mix. FDPIR participants have welcomed this change as well, providing positive feedback about the quality and versatility of the shell eggs.

The SRMT FDP staff played a key role in the seamless transition to USDA DoD Fresh and the Shell Egg Pilot. Prior to implementation, staff surveyed FDPIR participants to evaluate interest, increased storage capacity, and provided program outreach. As a result of these efforts, FDPIR participation has increased and FDP staff continue to make a positive impact on the health of the community.

SRMT FDP staff (left to right): Lucy Barnes, Melanie Conners, and Thomas Square.

SRMT FDP staff (left to right): Lucy Barnes, Melanie Conners, and Thomas Square.

Technology Synopsis

IFMS Transition Continues

In April, the sixth group of Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) transitioned to the Integrated Food Management System (IFMS). There are now 45 ITOs using IFMS, with over 175 active users. Since its launch in October, ITOs have completed nearly 15,000 issuances, providing food to more than 7,200 households.

The May and June ITOs have already begun the eight-week transition program, which prepares them for the change through system set up, training, and loading data from AIS. Please direct any questions about the IFMS transition program or scheduling preferences to the IFMS Transition Team Manager at

IFMS Release Highlights

IFMS is under continuous improvement to introduce new capabilities, incorporate feedback and requests from the user community, and fix bugs and other issues. One of the advantages with a cloud-based system like IFMS is that all updates are applied automatically, and no user actions are required to install or update files in order to use the latest version of IFMS.

The IFMS development cycle is designed to produce a quality solution that is thoroughly tested and defect-free. To add more flexibility, two small releases were added to the schedule, with Release 1.3.1 going live in March and Release 1.3.2 in April. Release 1.4.0 is expected to go live on June 11, 2021.

Highlights from these releases include:

  • The Inventory Balance report screen includes Cases and Units columns, so that physical counts can be conducted more efficiently.
  • Users conducting an Inventory Transfer Out to an AIS ITO and Site are now required to enter a comment, so the reason for the transfer can be tracked.
  • To prevent accidental changes, users working in the Inventory Receipts screen can no longer edit the Units per Case field.

IFMS Newswatch logo

Are You Receiving IFMS NewsWatch?

IFMS NewsWatch, which launched in December 2020, is a specialized e-letter 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 request to be added or change subscription preferences, contact

Price Information to Be Removed from AIS

Price information will be removed from the Automated Inventory System (AIS) as part of the next quarterly release, planned for June 2021. Forthcoming changes to the claims process will utilize more accurate price information provided by the FNS Regional Offices.

System Reminders

  • 4/29/2021 – WBSCM Release 2021.R4.1.04
  • 5/26/2021 – AIS Release 06.2021 (instructions)
  • 5/27/2021 – WBSCM Release 2021.R4.1.05
  • 6/11/2021 – IFMS Release 1.4.0
  • 6/25/2021 – WBSCM Release 2021.R4.2.06
  • 7/10/2021 – FFAVORS 3.2 Release

Planned dates for system activities are subject to change.

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