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Southern Oregon Food Banks To Benefit From Trade War

Three local food banks in Southern Oregon are going to receive a significant influx of food because of China tariffs.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 6:05 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 6:23 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Three local food banks in Southern Oregon are going to receive a significant influx of food because of China tariffs.

Gretchen Miller, Sourcing and Operations Strategist for the Oregon Food Bank, said Access, the Josephine County Food Bank and the Klamath Falls Food Bank will be just a few of thousands of food banks across the country to benefit.

The influx of food will be delivered to the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, which will distribute it to the 20 USDA regional food banks in Oregon.

Miller said the food banks affected are a part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program. 

"It's otherwise known as TEFAP, the program of the United States Department of Agriculture," Miller said. 

Miller said with the tariffs that have been put in place, the USDA will be spending $1.2 billion nationally to buy food from affected agricultural markets.

Oregon will be getting about 1.26 percent of that, which will come out to about 12-14 million pounds delivered over the course of 2019, which will come out to about more than 300 full semi-truck loads.

Miller said about 5.9 percent of the amount going to Oregon will go to the Access Food Bank, which translates to more than 750,000 pounds of extra food during 2019. 

Miller said the substantial amount of food is a rapidly-changing situation. 

"We right now know what's coming in for January through March, but depending on the response the USDA gets from the vendors of the commodities that they're purchasing from, it might change a little bit. So we can give estimates and a really good idea of the types of product that will be coming in. 

Philip Yates, Nutrition Programs Director, said in all the years he's worked for Access, he's never experienced anything like this.

He said Access is trying to come up with a plan to get ready for the food.

"For us that's a 20 to 25 percent increase," Yates said. 

Yates said Access will also need to reach out to its partners in the community to figure out how to store the food. 

"I want to reach out to the community because I think that's what we're going to have to do, to find other distribution sites, to find additional storage places," Yates said. 

He has an idea of what type of food will be coming. 

"We know it's going to be fresh produce, we've seen rice and beans and some canned meat are on the list," Yates said. 

In the meantime, Yates said Access will start to look for more volunteers to help when the food arrives.

Miller said along with Access, the Josephine County food bank and the Klamath Falls food bank will also be seeing an influx of food. 

The Josephine County bank will get about 380,000 pounds of extra food, and the Klamath Falls bank will get between 300-350,000 extra pounds. 

However, Miller explained those numbers are not set in stone and will likely fluctuate.

How much a food bank gets is decided based on things like population and poverty statistics. 

It will arrive in intervals throughout 2019.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Multnomah17556239
Washington10554102
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Clackamas639577
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Deschutes242215
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Yamhill175616
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Morrow6597
Lincoln62515
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Clatsop3610
Baker2833
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Grant1341
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Harney1001
Wallowa713
Gilliam230
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Wheeler30
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