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Direct Diversion Program



School Food Authorities (SFAs) have the option of spending entitlement on USDA bulk material(s) that will be sent to approved processors. For example, bulk beef, chicken, turkey, pork, eggs, cheese, flour, etc.

The processor converts the bulk material into the SFAs' desired end products. SFAs can select USDA approved end products from a list called the Summary End Product Data Schedules (SEPDS). SFAs should request a copy of the current SEPDS and bulk pound calculator from desired processor(s) and/or broker. A List of Approved Processors and contact information is available below, under the applicable school year.

There are two ways to procure end products, indirect through a commercial distributor or direct to the processor. For more information, review the timeline, tasks, and resources below. 

  • SFAs order a variety of familiar commercial end products from known vendors all year long, and SFAs save the value of the bulk USDA Food used to produce their favorite end products.
  • SFAs have flexibility throughout the school year to order end products from their prime vendor to be delivered when they want them.
Who Can Participate

All Wisconsin SFAs that contract with a prime vendor (or commercial distributor) can opt to participate in this program. Although SFAs that participate in Direct Diversion cannot order State Processing C-Code products, since they are doing their own diversion, SFAs can still order Direct Delivery (Brown Box) and USDA DoD Fresh Produce. 

DPI Fees

In August, SFAs incur a one-time WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) administrative fee for the upcoming school year based on the SFAs’ bulk pound commitments for the year. For more details, on the WI USDA Foods webpage, left navigation bar, click on “Product Values and Fees”.

Timeline and Tasks

September October 

  • SFAs read the “Direct Diversion Agreement between SFA and DPI
  • List of Approved Direct Diversion Processors and resources for next school year are posted to webpage by the DPI. 
  • SFAs begin the procurement process for Direct Diversion end products. Solicitation documents should include a product list of total servings needed of end products for the upcoming school year. Contracts must be awarded or renewed by the end of January so that SFAs can select processors for bulk products on the USDA Foods Annual Order Survey. 

November December 

  • SFAs and Industry Partners attend Wisconsin SNA – Fall Conference and Food Show. The DPI conducts Direct Diversion training. 

January February

  • Based on contract award and Processor's SEPDS, SFAs use the Guide for Calculating Raw Pound Commitments to determine bulk pounds to allocate for the USDA Foods Annual Order Survey by Processor and product.  
  • SFAs must have valid contract in place with commercial distributor and updated the online USDA Foods agreement with distribution information. The final date the DPI will accept changes in the WI USDA Foods Ordering System is March 31. 
  • The DPI announces the USDA Foods Annual Order Survey dates.  
  • Mid-February USDA Foods Annual Order Survey period for the next school year opens. SFAs participating in Direct Diversion submit pounds of bulk USDA Foods and select procured processors. 
  • SFAs agree to the “Direct Diversion Agreement between SFA and DPI for the 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. 


  • SFA’s bulk pounds must be used within the school year allocated per the DPI Inventory Sweep Policy. SFAs are not allowed to carry over unused pounds to the following school year. Any remaining bulk pounds in SFA accounts will be swept into the State Agency account on June 30. 


  • SFAs confirm that allocated pounds for the upcoming school year are loaded into K12 Foodservice or ProcessorLink. 

During the School Year

  • Login to K12 Foodservice and ProcessorLink and monitor your pounds usage. Confirm you have a plan to use pounds by end of year (June 30). Submit orders to your Commercial Distributor. Confirm you are receiving credit for the value of USDA Foods per your contract, as applicable.
  • SFAs contact the Processor or Broker to request a transfer of additional pounds, if needed, from either the State account or another SFA. The State Agency will review the SFAs request based on needs, availability, and eligibility to order with Processor. 

Direct Diversion Agreement Between DPI and SFA

Read this to understand the requirements of ordering Direct Diversion USDA Foods. The 2024-25 Agreement will be posted in the USDA Foods Ordering System in January 2024. SFAs will accept the terms of the Agreement between January and February 2024 for the next school year.

Direct Diversion Agreement between DPI and SFA


SFAs have a variety of tools to monitor and draw down pounds at each processor by product to ensure pounds are used in the school year allocated.

  • Monitoring Bulk Pounds at Processors Worksheet- Use this to track pounds annually. Enter products and drawdown per case. Each month enter the number of cases ordered and the formula will calculate the remaining bulk pounds by product and processor.
  • Per the requirements of 7 CFR 250.36(h), processors are required to provide SFAs with a mechanism to track quantities of raw donated food. Most processors use third-party systems like K12 Foodservice or ProcessorLink.
  • SFAs can also manage pound balances by using the transfer request process. SFAs can donate pounds to another SFA or receive pounds from another SFA or the state account.
  • SFA’s bulk pounds must be used within the school year allocated per the DPI Inventory Sweep Policy. SFAs are not allowed to carry over unused pounds to the following school year. Any remaining bulk pounds in SFA accounts will be swept into the State Agency account on June 30.

School Year 2024-25 (Program Year 2025)

School Year 2023-24 (Program Year 2024)

School Year 2025-26 (Program Year 2026)

  • List of Approved Processors - Includes USDA Product Codes and Descriptions, the Value-Pass-Through method each Processor allows, and Processor Contact Information. 
  • Bulk Commitment Report by Approved Processor
  • Entitlement Value, Processing, and Handling Charges SY 25-26


If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact .


Lera Karns
Contract Specialist
(608) 267-9288
Jessica Oele, MS, RDN, CD
Contract Specialist
(608) 266-3296