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Getting Started with USDA Foods

Pre-eligibility Information for USDA Foods
There are four programs within the Commodity Operations Section: three USDA Foods Programs, including Food Distribution Program (FDP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), as well as Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

The FDP, TEFAP and CSFP are USDA federal programs designed to improve the nutritional quality of the diets of program participants, and support agriculture through price supports and removal of food surpluses.

The FMNP and SFMNP utilize farmers to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and provide opportunities for farmers to sell their produce locally.

Food Distribution Program
Public, charter and private schools as well as residential child care institutions (RCCIs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible to receive an entitlement dollar amount of USDA Foods based on the number of reimbursable lunches served during the previous school year multiplied by the federal rate of assistance per meal. NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP) operators may opt to:
  • Use USDA Foods for the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) if implemented.
  • Send USDA Foods to processors for further processing.

Sponsors eligible to receive USDA Foods under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) include:
  • Sponsors preparing meals on site or at a central kitchen.
  • Sponsors purchasing meals from a school food authority (SFA) that participates in NSLP.
  • SFA sponsors that procure their SFSP meals from the same FSMC that competitively provided their most recent NSLP and/or SBP meals.

TEFAP reduces hunger in Texas by distributing, through local food banks, a portion of the United States agricultural surplus to low-income households, unemployed individuals and organizations that serve meals to low-income persons. You may be eligible to participate as a TEFAP contractor if you are a non-profit organization or a public agency and have an established network for food distribution within the state.

The CSFP helps improve the health of persons 60 and older with distributions of nutritionally balanced USDA-donated food. The program is administered through the local food banks. You may be eligible as a CSFP contractor if you are a non-profit organization or a public agency.

You must demonstrate adequate administrative and financial responsibility to manage an efficient and effective distribution system to be considered a potential FMNP or SFMNP contractor. For SFMNP, consideration will be given to the poverty level of seniors and the number of certified farmers markets in the selected geographical contract area, and to the organizations best suited to make maximum use of the caseload availability.

While participation in some of these programs is limited, if you are interested in any of these programs and believe your organization or company is eligible to participate, please contact the Commodity Operations Section at or (877) TEX-MEAL.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider. Logo

Texas Department of Agriculture Logo

Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner Sid Miller

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