Brown Box to Bulk

Indiana Department of Education 2021 Late Summer Edition

What is the USDA Food Distribution Program (FDP)?

Schools rely on USDA Foods as an important resource for the National School Lunch Program. The provision of USDA Foods frees up funds that schools would otherwise have to use to purchase commercial food products. USDA Foods account for 15 to 20 percent of federal school lunch food expenditures.

This federal program is administered through IDOE for eligible institutions to receive entitlement dollars to purchase USDA Foods. These foods can be used within the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and After School Snack Program (ASSP). To learn more about FDP, please email

Important Updates

Excess Storage Fees

IDOE will begin charging excess storage fees again this fall. Additional information is forthcoming.

Direct Delivery USDA Foods Allocations

Direct Delivery (aka brown box) allocations will begin in late September or early October. USDA Foods are delivered by the School Food Authority's (SFA's) state assigned warehouse, (Dilgard Foods, Stanz Foodservice or Wabash Foods) once they are delivered to them by the USDA vendor.

State Assigned Warehouse Deliveries

All three state assigned warehouses have begun direct deliveries. However, schools must have carryover USDA Foods in their inventory from the previous school year.

Clearing Direct Delivered (Brown Box) USDA Foods Allocations

IDOE will begin clearing brown box allocations again beginning October. If USDA Foods remain in the SFA's inventory past the close date, IDOE will clear the allocation at the beginning of the following month. The USDA Foods will be placed into IDOE surplus for other schools to utilize. Schools should place an order and have items delivered before the close date to avoid the risk of losing them.

Warehouse and Driver Shortages

Currently, there is a nationwide warehouse worker and driver shortage. Unfortunately, our USDA vendors, processing companies, state assigned warehouses and the Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program are not exempt. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

Don't Forget About Your Diversions

Direct Diverted pounds at the processors are available for schools to utilize for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Schools should use carryover pounds first.
  • Divert what is on your menu and regularly menu what you diverted.
  • SFAs should draw down at least 10% of each diverted item monthly.
  • Both dark and white portions of poultry diverted should be utilized. There is usually a 60% white, 40% dark portion split.

Forecast - Inventory - Efficiency

Forecasting helps schools with cost savings and minimizes excess inventory. When forecasting, SFAs should ask the following questions:

  • Which products worked will this school year?
  • Which items did the students like? Which ones didn't they like?
  • Are you using the proper balance of white and dark poultry portions?
  • Be sure to use USDA Foods on every menu and use the same USDA Food in different recipes throughout the week.

Inventory Levels and Management

  • Remove your inventory from the state assigned warehouses and processors as soon as possible.
  • SFAs should be using the First in First Out (FIFO) rotation method to ensure the oldest dates are being used first.
  • Schools should be placing direct delivered, diverted, and USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit Vegetable Program orders regularly.
  • Monitor the commodity tracking websites K12 Foodservice and ProcessorLink regularly to be sure the processing companies are drawing down pounds correctly.
  • Ensure that inventory levels do not exceed a six month period.


  • It is a good idea to designate someone to be responsible for receipt, storage, organization, and tracking of USDA Foods.
  • Implement an inventory system.
  • Order, but don't over order and avoid duplication.
  • Track, track, track.
  • Determine what is needed on hand.

Updates and Reminders

eAuthentication can be completed for new SFAs once the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) enters schools into the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order Receipt System (FFAVORS). DLA is currently in the process of adding new sponsors and sites. Entitlement will also be assigned to the new schools once they are entered in FFAVORS by DLA.

For information on FFAVORS and getting started with DoD, please review the Customer Ordering Manual and inTEAM training.

Accessing FFAVORS

To access FFAVORS or for information regarding the eAuthentication process, please click here.

Receipting in FFAVORS

  • Please ensure that all SFAs receipt orders in FFAVORS within five days of delivery. This must be done so the vendors can be paid.

Schools should contact IDOE to add sites to FFAVORS. Please do not contact the DLA representative or USDA to add new sites.
  • Please allow one month for DLA to update FFAVORS.

6 S's = Success

1. Sort - Determine what is needed and remove what is not.

2. Shift into Order - Organize and arrange the appropriate items so that they are easy to access, use and return to their proper place.

3. Shine - Keep the area clean and safe.

4. System - Develop a system.

5. Sustain - Maintain these standards through regular communication and training.

6. Safety - Promote a healthy, safe environment by developing and/or following food safety, hazard and COVID-19 protocols

We are working together to get better.

Take a Fresh Look at Your School's USDA Foods Processors

It's a good idea to evaluate/re-evaluate your inventory needs throughout the school year. Doing so regularly is essential to your success in the Food Distribution Program.


  • Do you have too many processors/vendors? Can you get better pricing, service, etc. from fewer vendors? Do you have processors making duplicate items?
  • Are you using the items at the processors?
  • Are you receiving the discounts and credits your school is entitled?
  • Did you compare prices?
  • Do you check your processing balances regularly?

Although the list does not end here, it is a good start. Take a fresh look today.

August is National Peach Month

Big picture
This celebration was implemented by President Reagan in 1982. Peaches are a sweet, nutritious fruit that can be incorporated into your school menus. Peaches are available in the USDA Foods program in the form of diced, sliced, frozen and canned.

Dishin’ Nutrition

This section provides inspiration for recipes you can create using USDA Foods. The recipe ideas below can be created using USDA Foods canned or frozen peaches, frozen strawberries, and sliced and diced ham. If you have additional recipe ideas, please share them with Cheryl Moore at

Did You Know?

  • Monitoring inventories should be a continuous process throughout the year. Review monthly inventories at state owned/contracted warehouses or distributors as well as processors’ monthly processing reports.
  • Pay close attention to stagnant inventories - reallocate excess inventory to school districts that can use the food.

Upcoming Events

Click here to check out our upcoming trainings.

2021 State of Indiana Holidays

Labor Day, Monday, September 6

Columbus Day, Monday, October 11

**State Offices are closed in observance of the above holidays.

For the full list of state holidays, click here.

USDA FOODS Resources


Contact Us

Cheryl Moore, FDP Specialist (Brown Box, Annual Pre-Order Survey, SFSP USDA Foods, USDA DoD Fresh Program)


Phone: 317-234-2516

Linda Smith, FDP Specialist (Raw/Bulk Products/Pounds)


Phone: 317-232-0859