Strengthening the Food System: Behind the USDA’s $4 Billion Investment

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently announced plans to invest over $4 billion in order to strengthen food supply chains affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent supply chain disruptions. As a part of the Build Back Better Initiative, this new effort is meant to strengthen the food system, help communities that have been left behind, address the climate crisis, and create new market opportunities. With funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (as well as earlier pandemic assistance), the investment is part of the Biden Administration’s broader goal of improving America’s supply chains.

The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force

The Biden Administration has also implemented a task force for the initiative, the new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. This Task Force will provide a government response to address the supply issues affecting American economic recovery. Specifically, the Task Force will assemble stakeholders to diagnose supply constraints and other supply issues among small and large organizations. These issues, related to the economy’s reopening after vaccination and economic relief efforts, are to be alleviated by a variety of government-assigned stakeholders.

The Build Back Better Initiative

With the help of the Build Back Better Initiative, the USDA plans to use the $4 billion investment in order to bolster critical parts of the US food system, improve processing, support distribution and aggregation, and create new market opportunities. This work will help ensure the food system is fair, competitive, and resistant to many challenges. The initiative will also support greater access to affordable and healthy food, as well as advance worker, producer, and consumer equity. With climate change and crises in mind, the initiative will accomplish these feats while maintaining climate resilience and mitigation.

Tom Vilsack was named co-chair of the Biden Administration’s new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. “The COVID-19 pandemic. . .exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated, and fragile. . .[T]hose growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else,” said Vilsack. “The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers, and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds. . .I look forward to. . .help to mobilize a whole-of-government effort to address the short-term supply challenges our country faces as it recovers.”

Initiative components

Working from a mix of grants, loans, and innovative financing mechanisms, the initiative plans to drive American food systems via food production, processing, distribution, and markets, all while tackling the climate crisis and helping communities that have been left behind in the wake of the pandemic. Growers, farmers, ranchers, and other critical inputs are the backbone of food production. However, the share of profits going to these workers has been diminishing in recent years. The pandemic further exacerbated challenges with processing capacity: the drop in plant and slaughter capacity led to smaller and midsize food producers struggling to compete in the food market. Using direct financial assistance, grants, training and technical assistance, and more, the USDA will invest in the current and future generations of food producers and workers. Furthermore, the USDA will make investments to support new and expanded processing capacity.

US food systems have seen significant issues in food distribution and in food markets. Food distribution and aggregation depends on having the right infrastructure and the people within the infrastructure working together throughout the food system. Long shipping distances and lack of local and regional investment caused further stress onto the food system. Many socially disadvantaged and small and mid-sized producers in the US do not have equitable access to markets. The USDA will make new investments that will help the food system infrastructure that are resilient, flexible, and responsive. In addition, the USDA will support new and expanded access to markets for a diverse set of growers and access to healthy food for diverse consumers.

About Doral Food Distributors

Doral Food Distributors proudly supports new initiatives for diverse food producers and consumers around the country. Cultivating an excellent work environment is like cultivating a healthy diet: it’s all about balance! We are proud to offer a multifaceted work environment, motivated management, effective human resources, and vital expertise about both food production as well as the operators involved. We are an experienced and energetic team of professionals that make cultural heritage, familial bonding, and community part of our daily routine. When you partner with Doral Foods Distributors, you experience our commitment to quality, passion, and care.


USDA Press. “USDA to Invest More Than $4 Billion to Strengthen Food System.” USDA. 2021.

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