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​Join the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System

Have you ever had surplus product that you don’t know what to do with? Food gone unharvested, produce left in the field, meat with no market? Or, have you ever just wanted to be a part of something bigger and make a difference for those in need? Join the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System!

PASS is a program that reimburses farmers for their costs to harvest, package, and process surplus agricultural products, and redirects those products to the charitable food system and those who need it most. In addition to surplus products, the Department of Agriculture encourages farmers to consider how they can more intentionally plan for contributions through PASS with intentional planting.

Small Farms, Large Impact

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 80% of Pennsylvania farms are classified as small farms, with less than 180 acres per farm. Though small, these farms have the potential to make a large impact by helping to feed their neighbors in need. In an effort to bridge the gap between Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry and Pennsylvania’s charitable food network, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) was designed to help reduce waste of surplus product, support local farms, and provide increased access to nutritious foods for Pennsylvania families who need it most.

What's Eligible?

PASS provides funding to cover the costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting a large variety of Pennsylvania-produced food and agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, poultry, pork, beef, and grains, in order to donate those items to the charitable food system.

Feeding Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture contracts with Feeding Pennsylvania, a statewide association of food banks, to administer the PASS program. Working through a network of 13 charitable-food providers, Feeding Pennsylvania ensures that products sourced through PASS are distributed to those in need of food assistance in all 67 counties.

How to Get Involved

  • Contract Planting 
    • Through contract planting, you can work with Feeding Pennsylvania and your regional food bank to plan a portion of your production to be donated to the charitable food system. This would include the product to be donated, the amount harvested, and any associated costs to be covered by PASS.
  • Surplus Items at Harvest 
    • Have surplus product? Any excess product at the end of the season can also be covered through the PASS program. If the product is in acceptable condition, we can work together to determine if there is a need and funding available to cover associated costs for donation.
  • Value-Added Products
    • Items such as dairy products, meat, eggs, and shelf-stable items using Pennsylvania-sourced ingredients are much-needed items at food banks and their agencies. These types of products are also eligible to use through PASS funds.

Looking for More Information?

PA Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Food Assistance

Tom Mainzer
Director of Agricultural Partnerships
Feeding Pennsylvania