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USDA Foods: Massachusetts Processing Program – Carry Over Policy

To:Child Nutrition Directors and School District Business Officials
From:Robert M. Leshin, Director Office for Food and Nutrition Programs
Date:February 15, 2019

USDA Foods: Massachusetts Processing Program – Carry Over Policy

The USDA Foods Processing Program is one way in which school districts in Massachusetts can utilize its entitlement dollars. A major goal of Processing is to make greater use of the available USDA Foods and to offset the rising costs associated with your meal programs.

If you have chosen to participate in the processing program it is important that you make use of your allocated pounds. The pounds of USDA Foods diverted on your behalf are an asset that you ought to use during the current school year. When you are not utilizing your pounds, you are essentially not spending your entitlement dollars. This also causes an issue of excess inventory at a processor as well as loss of revenue to your school lunch program as no end products have been ordered and received by your school district.

In the past, The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has allowed districts to keep "carryover" pounds through December 31st of the next school year. This has made it challenging to manage the pounds in both the state and individual district accounts, and to ensure districts were maintaining proper procurement practices.

In an effort to be more in line with USDA Food Distribution Regulations (7 CFR Part 250.12.c.1) and to help the many school districts who participate in the processing program we will be implementing the following change to our current carryover policy effective immediately:

  • School districts should plan to utilize all pounds diverted to processors by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
  • When the survey opens for school year 2019-2020, districts should not consider any carryover pounds from school year 2018-2019.
  • On or about June 30, 2019 and each year moving forward, all pounds in a school district's accounts will be swept into the state account. School districts can no longer request to keep pounds at the time of the sweep.
  • Periodically during the year, DESE will monitor activity at processors and move pounds from inactive accounts to accounts that are actively using their pounds. School districts will be notified before any pounds are moved.

The following provides answers to questions you may have:

Questions and Answers

    1. Are you really going to sweep all my pounds at the end of this school year?
    2. Yes, any pounds that you have left over at the end of School Year 18-19, at any processor will be "swept" into the Massachusetts state account.

    3. Can I still order and try to use up my pounds during this school year?
    4. Yes, please continue to order and monitor your usage. If you are having trouble with a particular product or processor, please let us know. It is important to keep in communication with us, your brokers and distributors.

    5. What if I had plans for those SY 18-19 carryover pounds?
    6. We completely understand that this is a big change and we will work with each district to make this transition as easy as possible.

    7. How do I fill out my Diversion Survey?
    8. We have added links for resources to help with your decisions. Nothing else is changed on the Diversion Survey. The main thing to remember is to not count carryover pounds. Determine and request the exact number of pounds you will need to fill your menu needs for all of School Year 2019-20.

    If you have additional questions, please contact Belinda Wilson at 781-338-6478, or Marion Browning at 781-338-6460.

    Last Updated: February 15, 2019

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.