School Food Authorities (SFAs) have the option of spending entitlement on USDA Direct Delivery (formerly referred to as Brown Box or Commodity) products. Typically, ordering from the Direct Delivery product list is thought of as USDA Foods for beginners! This program is the easiest way to benefit from USDA Foods, as these are basic products that can be stored for convenience and are easily incorporated into a menu.
- SFAs order cases of nutritious, domestically produced food products, including beef, pork, fish, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grain, which can be used in preparing school meals.
- USDA has already completed procurement and Buy American requirements, saving SFAs valuable time. For Direct Delivery products, SFAs do not know the exact product specifications or name of manufacturer until product is delivered.
- Every dollar’s worth of USDA Foods used in a school menu frees up money that would otherwise be spent on commercial food purchases.
- Who Can Participate
All Wisconsin SFAs that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) can participate in this program.
- DPI Fees
SFAs incur Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) administrative and storage fee per gross weight of cases. SFAs that opt for state delivery will also pay DPI delivery fees. For more details, on the WI USDA Foods webpage, left navigation bar, click on “Product Values and Fees”.
- Timeline and Tasks
- USDA releases next year’s Direct Delivery USDA Foods Available product list.
- DPI sends out a preference survey for SFAs to offer feedback about direct delivery products.
- DPI selects about 50 products to offer on the February Annual Order Survey and posts to the DPI website.
SFAs look up the entitlement amount they are allowed to spend during the Annual Order Survey and start planning what to request for next year.
During the open Annual Order Survey, SFAs submit product case quantities and select months for delivery for next school year.
- SFAs review Surveys for adjustments. Since DPI orders full truck loads from USDA, DPI may adjust the quantities that were requested on the Survey.
Additional Ordering Opportunities
- Based on the state’s entitlement and USDA surplus offers or cancellations, from time to time, DPI may send emails with additional ordering opportunities for SFAs to receive more Direct Delivery products. The list of these products is typically very limited compared to the Annual Order Survey.
During the School Year
SFAs monitor orders in the WI USDA Foods Ordering System. DPI converts surveys to orders each month based on inventory at DPI’s contracted warehouse.
SFAs opting for state delivery will receive delivery during the Orders month and cannot delay delivery when products are listed on a monthly Order.
SFAs opting to use a commercial distributor for delivery may have more flexibility to ask distributor to deliver cases when SFAs request.
Product Selection and Specifications
In November or December, USDA posts the USDA Foods Available List and Prices for the next school year. In January, DPI requests SFAs complete a Product Preference Survey. Based on the results of the survey, DPI posts a list of approximately 50 USDA Foods products for SFAs to select from on the Annual Order Survey.
Product List School Year 2023-24 (Program Year 2024)
Wisconsin DPI's List of Direct Delivery (Brown-box) for SY 23-24 - includes product and packaging descriptions, months available, and entitlement value per case.
Product List School Year 2022-23 (Program Year 2023)
Wisconsin List of Direct Delivery (Brown-box) for SY 22-23 - includes product and packaging descriptions, months available, and entitlement value per case.
- For more details about delivery options, go to “Delivery and Storage”.
- For more details about how to plan for the Annual Order Survey, click on “Ordering System” and “Annual Order Survey”.
- For more details about the value of USDA Foods and DPI fees, click on “Product Values and Fees”.
If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact email@example.com or (608)267-4599.