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Please contact the OPI Help Desk at or 406.444.0087


School Programs:
USDA Foods Program

The USDA Foods Program provides 100% American grown foods such as meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy products to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program through entitlement funds. USDA Foods support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and school meal pattern requirements to make it easier for schools to prepare healthy meals.

USDA Video



Helpful Information



  • Processing USDA Foods allows State Distributing Agencies and eligible Recipient Agencies, such as school districts, to contract with commercial food processors to convert raw bulk USDA Foods into more convenient, ready-to-use end products.
  • The Montana Office of Public Instruction School Nutrition Program processes two (2) food items on behalf of all the Recipient Agencies in the state: charbroiled beef patties and whole grain-rich, breaded chicken tenders. These items are deducted from the Recipient Agencies entitlement like other USDA Foods.
    • Procurement of these foods is done at the state level.
    • Public schools/institutions are not charged a processing, shipping or handling fee on these items. Funds for these items are covered by state match funds.
    • Private schools/institutions reimburse the State office for the processing, shipping and handling of these items because state match funds cannot be used for private entities.
  • School districts in Montana have formed the Montana School Commodity Processing Cooperative.
    • Recipient Agencies who wish to use the processing program must join the cooperative.
    • The cooperative conducts all procurement necessities on behalf of participating Recipient Agencies.
    • Food Services of America (FSA) was awarded the distribution bid for the cooperative for school year 2016-17.
      • FSA will charge a fixed rate of $2.95 per case of processed food delivered.
    • Click on the following link for a list of awarded processors and product codes for school year 2016-17. COMING SOON


Ordering Basics

  • The USDA provides an Available Foods List to states around January of each year.
  • Montana schools and institutions participating in the National School Lunch Program submit USDA orders between January and March for the entire next school year.
  • School districts will be notified by email and mail that the order is open.

Ordering Instructions

  1. Log into the USDA Foods Ordering Program.
  2. Go to Sponsor Functions at the top of the page and make your selection from the drop down box. You may print a blank order form or place your order directly by selecting Enter/Modify Food Order.
  3. Your entitlement amount will be listed at the top of the page. Click on the Generate a New Order Number button and then click on the Select button and the order form will come up.
  4. Dairy will be the first Food Group to appear. To select another Food Group click on the arrow beside Dairy and make your selection from the drop down box.
  5. Click the Select button for the item you wish to order and enter the number of cases you want to order then click the Save button. Repeat this for each item you want to order.
    • Please note: DO NOT order processing items unless you have read the guidelines under the “Processing” section above.
  6. As you make your entries your entitlement balance will re-calculate to show your re-maining entitlement. Once you have completed your order click on the Submit button. Be sure to print a copy of your completed order for your file.



The Think Food newsletter gives a variety of useful information about USDA Foods and other aspects of school nutrition programs. It is mailed to all school district/institution food service directors about 3 weeks before each USDA Foods shipment.

Think Food Newsletters

Shipment 3 - September 2016
Shipment 1 & 2, August-September 2016

USDA Food Webinars

The USDA Foods webinars can count for Professional Standard hours.

DoD Fresh Program

DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Basics

The Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program allows schools to use USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce.

  • The program is operated by the Defense Logistics Agency at the Department of Defense. USDA does not impose a cap on the amount of entitlement used through this program and allows the state to change DoD Fresh allocations throughout the year.
  • Sysco holds the contract to deliver the DoD Fresh Program to Montana schools and institutions. The DoD goes out to bid every 18 months. The Montana Office of Public Instruction does not hold the delivery contract but works with the DoD to provide Montana schools and institutions the best service possible.

History of the DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
DoD Fresh: The Basics Webinar

Ordering Instructions

Orders cannot be placed until a user profile is created within FFAVORS Web by your DoD Account Manager, DoD Field Rep and/or DoD Contracting Specialist. If you are new to the program please contact Tessa Bailly to help facilitate the set up of your account.

Once your user profile is added to FFAVORS Web, an email notification with step by step in-structions will be generated on how to create an eAuthentication account. For those that have an existing eAuthentication ID, the user profile must still be created in FFAVORS Web before the site can be accessed.

  1. Set up a user profile and eAuthentication account.
  2. Login to the FFAVORS website
  3. Follow instructions and place your produce order 10 days in advance from the delivery day that you want items to be delivered. Sysco has a specific delivery day of the week for each school/institution. Please contact Tessa Bailly at to find out your specific delivery day.
    For example: If your delivery day is on Monday, you must place your order no later than 10 days before that expected delivery day.
  4. Once deliveries are received, schools/institutions must mark receipt of produce in FFA-VORS within 7 business days.


If you have problems accessing FFAVORS please contact Tessa Bailly at or the FFAVORS help desk at:




For more information about the USDA Foods Program, contact Tessa Bailly, OPI School Nutrition Programs Food Distribution Coordinator, at 406.444.4412.