USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection, April 2022

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

FDPIR Connection, April 2022

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News & Notes

Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group Meeting
Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group Meeting

Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Join Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group Meeting

At the Jamie L. Whitten Building on Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C., Tribal leaders and USDA consulting officials met across two days to consult on various topics related to nutrition assistance programs. On Day 1, held on March 29th, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Stacy Dean and Tribal leaders met in-person and virtually to cover topics related to Tribal sovereignty and self-determination, Tribal procurement, access to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR) benefits and services by off-reservation lineal descendants, promotion of Farm to School grants in Indian Country, and Indigenous representation in USDA positions. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, joined Tribal leaders for closing remarks and shared USDA’s commitment to engagement with Tribes under a government-to-government relationship. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack opened Day 2 of the consultation on March 30th  and further shared USDA’s commitment in Indian Country, our mutual interest in increasing access to traditional foods and tribal vendors, and our growing partnership in supporting the FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project where participating Tribes test a new model of tribal procurement for the program. Day 2 also consisted of dialogue on topics related to technology systems to support FDPIR, increased funding dedicated to nutrition education activities for FDPIR administering agencies, and state consultations under SNAP-Ed.

Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group Meeting

Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA)

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The LFPA program is part of the “Build Back Better” initiative, authorized by the American Rescue Plan. The purpose of this program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency, and the program will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with State and Tribal governments to support local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the purchase of domestic local foods. Local and regional farmers and ranchers are defined as those that are within the state or 400 miles of the delivery destination. The cooperative agreements will allow for State and Tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are nutritious and unique to their geographic area.  The food will meet the needs of the population, and serve feeding programs, including food banks and organizations that reach underserved communities. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers.

Eligible state and tribal governments can apply now at

Grant applications must be submitted on by 11:59 PM EST on May 6, 2022 (the previous deadline of April 5, 2022 has been extended).


IFMS User Group Meeting Updates

In September 2021, at the request of the Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) paused the recruitment of Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) for migration to the Integrated Food Management System (IFMS). 

FNS is committed to our partnership with the FDPIR community to ensure that IFMS meets the needs of its users.  FNS formed the IFMS Work Group with the goal of collecting feedback on IFMS.  In total, 19 individuals participated, representing 17 ITOs in five FNS Regions.  Work Group meetings were held on a weekly basis from late October through early December.  During these meetings, members identified 32 change requests including issues related to printing, issuance, inventory management, and general requests regarding system functionality.  Work Group members also identified the need for a regular forum for IFMS users to raise issues and proposed solutions to FNS staff; this led to the creation of the IFMS User Group.  At the conclusion of the IFMS Work Group, members ranked the 32 change requests as highest, high, medium, and low priority for the IFMS User Group to further address.

The IFMS User Group held its first meeting on January 25, 2022.  The User Group has discussed and provided feedback on solutions including: adding the address and telephone number to the issuance receipt, the development of a shopping list generated from IFMS, and adding in USDA Foods price data to be used to calculate household claims.  At this time, all three items are under development.

This group meets monthly to implement the change requests identified in the IFMS Work Group. During each meeting, the group discusses proposed solutions to address the change request(s) and provides feedback on how these changes will be implemented.  In addition to the 32 original change requests identified in the IFMS Work Group, IFMS User Group members also have the opportunity to provide new issues and requests for the group to discuss. 

If you would like to participate as a member of the IFMS User Group, please send an email to Katie Clifford at

The Wait is Over – Smaller Pack Sizes for Frozen Blueberries, Peas, and Carrots are Now Available!

Exhibit O – FDPIR Monthly Distribution Guide Rates by Household Size, effective March 1, 2022, was recently updated to include 1-pound pack sizes for frozen blueberries, peas, and carrots. These products are now available to order from the national warehouses. Each 1-pound package of frozen blueberries, peas, and carrots count as one unit in the Guide Rate. These new pack sizes allow FDPIR participants to take more variety in the fruit and vegetable categories. All existing inventory of the 2.5-pound packages of frozen blueberries and peas should be distributed at their rate of 3 units each before the 1-pound packages are issued.

Frozen blueberries, peas, and carrots can be incorporated into countless meals and snacks.

Frozen blueberries contain no added sugar and can be used as a topping on oatmeal or bran flakes or can be added to your favorite muffins, pancakes, or fruit salad. Check out the Frozen Blueberry Product Information Sheet for more tips and recipes on how to use this nutrient-packed fruit!

Frozen peas contain no added salt and can be used to add color and important nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin A to any soup, chili, salad, or casserole. Check out the Frozen Peas Product Information Sheet for more tips and recipes on how to use this versatile vegetable!

Frozen carrots contain no added salt and can add a nutritious and vibrant punch to your meals throughout the day. Add frozen carrots to soups and salads or enjoy them as a side dish and spice them up with garlic and onion power or even a drizzle of honey. Check out the Frozen Carrots Product Information Sheet for more tips and recipes on how you can add this colorful vegetable to your meals!

Notice of Extension for FDPIR CARES Act Food Package

The CARES Act Food Package is a temporary supplement that was made available to all ITOs and State agencies that administer FDPIR beginning January 1, 2021 in response to the pandemic. The CARES Act Food Package has now been extended to September 30, 2022.  We encourage all ITOs to take advantage of this opportunity to provide increased food resources and/or variety of foods to each FDPIR recipient during this time. The CARES Act Food Package includes up to an additional 21 units of food per person, per month.

Application process 

  • ITOs and States that are currently approved to distribute a CARES Act Food Package may continue distribution until September 30, 2022.  
    • Approved ITOs and State agencies that would like to alter the amount of food they want to distribute, up to 21 units, must re-submit an application for approval.
  • ITOs and State agencies that are not currently approved to distribute a CARES Act Food Package, but are interested in distributing the food package, are required to submit an application by the 10th of the month for distribution beginning the 1st of the following month. Contact your Regional Office for a copy of the application template. 


  • Grains, cereal, rice, and pasta – up to 3 units 
  • Vegetables and soup – up to 5 units (includes USDA DoD Fresh) 
  • Fruit and Juice – up to 5 units (includes USDA DoD Fresh) 
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs, and Nuts – Up to 4 units (limit of 1 unit for frozen or canned meat, poultry, and fish) 
  • Milk and Cheese – up to 4 units (1 five-pound package of cheese will count as 2 units. There will be a limit of 2 units or one package of cheese) 

If you are interested in distributing a CARES Act Food Package, please submit your application to as soon as possible or contact us if you have any questions. 


FDPIR Homebound and Elderly Participation Study

In response to a directive provided by Congress, FNS is launching a study to better understand efforts made by Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) to conduct outreach and provide FDPIR foods to homebound and elderly tribal members.  FNS is working with a research contractor to develop and field a survey to collect information on this topic.  USDA anticipates that the survey will be pre-tested with a small number of tribes this spring and will be fielded with all FDPIR programs over the next year.  More information will be provided to FDPIR program directors as this study gets underway.  We look forward to receiving information from ITOs about current practices and ideas to improve service to this vulnerable population. 

Policy Corner

Certification Chatter

Q: What is the medical expenses deduction and where can I find information about how to use it in the FNS Handbook 501?

A: Per FNS Handbook 501, Section 4554, households may receive an income deduction for medical expenses in excess of $35 per month, excluding special diets, incurred by any household member who is elderly or disabled as defined in FNS Handbook 501, Section 1110.  Spouses or other persons receiving benefits as a dependent of a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or disability and blindness recipient are not eligible to receive this deduction.  However, persons receiving emergency SSI benefits based on presumptive eligibility are eligible for this deduction.  

Allowable medical costs include: medical and dental care, hospitalization or outpatient treatment, prescription drugs, health and hospitalization insurance policy premiums, eye glasses prescribed by a physician skilled in eye disease or by an optometrist, reasonable cost of transportation and lodging to obtain medical treatment or services, and more.  Please see Section 4554 for the full list of allowable medical costs.   Per Section 3539B, the ITO/State agency must obtain verification (documentary evidence) that the incurred cost is an allowable medical expense. 

If your Program has any specific questions on the medical expenses deduction, or any other certification questions, please reach out to your FNS Regional Office.

Program Spotlight

Food distribution

Choctaw Nation Uses Grocery Store Model to Promote Healthy Eating

Choctaw Nation's Food Distribution Program was recently featured in an article from the Times Record: "With grocery store model, Choctaw Nation Food Distribution Program offers healthy options for their focus." The article focuses on how the Choctaw Nation's Food Distribution Program uses a grocery store model where recipients can choose their own food. This model also allows recipients to "shop" multiple times per month, which helps recipients add food with a shorter shelf-life, like fresh fruits and vegetables, to their diets.

We are thrilled to see the Choctaw Nation's Food Distribution Program receiving recognition for the exciting changes they've made! 

Technology Synopsis

WBSCM Upgraded

The Web-based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system was successfully upgraded and transitioned to Google Chrome as the preferred browser on March 14, 2022.

As part of this upgrade, all core components of WBSCM have been updated to the currently available patch levels. This ensures that the system is keeping up with security vulnerabilities and operating at its best. Accessibility features and more consistent, user-friendly designs have been applied to reports and other areas, including adding over 1,300 onscreen tool tips!

Specific changes FNS and domestic customers may encounter include:

  • In the order entry screen, text boxes can be resized by dragging the lower right corner in Chrome.
  • On the receipt entry screen, goods receipt message type and descriptions are displayed in a different order.
  • The Delivery Schedule Report has been renamed the National Warehouse Delivery Schedule.
  • The Program field has been expanded from 5 characters to 40 characters.
  • The Program selection list for reports such as Order Status Report and Requisition Status Report has been updated to include the full description next to the name or abbreviation.
  • In tabular list views, column width is adjusted to fit the content area, so when there are few columns, they may appear wider than needed.
Figure 1 - Table with columns stretched to fit content area.

Figure 1 - Table with columns stretched to fit content area.

  • When table is sorted, cells that contain the same value for adjacent rows are merged. When selected, it may appear that additional rows are selected in those columns.
Figure 2 - Table with a merged cell for adjacent rows with the same value.

Figure 2 - Table with a merged cell for adjacent rows with the same value.

For a full description of the changes and improvements, refer to the Release Notes and Upgrade Summary Job Aid. The WBSCM Navigation Video has also been updated to reflect the Chrome browser and new features. Note: Log in to WBSCM first to access these materials.

Following this upgrade, WBSCM performance will work best in Chrome; however, users may continue to use other browsers. A new job aid with updated browser settings and tips for working with WBSCM in Chrome is now available.

For questions about WBSCM, please contact the WBSCM Service Desk or call (877) 927-2648.

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