Food Distribution Program
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nebraska Food Distribution Program?

What is ADP?

What is PAL?

What is the difference between PAL and Entitlement?

How is PAL/Entitlement figured?

What do I do if the number of countable meals being served goes up or down?

What is committed and non-committed PAL/Entitlement?

Why is there no PAL/Entitlement listed on my August offering sheet?

What does an * in front of the foods listed on Food Distribution Program documentation mean?

What is a B or C item on the offering sheet?

How do I figure cost of USDA donated foods?

How can I tell when a product has gone out of condition?  Is there a single date I can refer to?

Where can I find nutrition information and dietary guidelines for USDA donated foods?


What is the Nebraska Food Distribution Program?   The Nebraska Food Distribution Program was developed to allocate and distribute foods purchased by USDA. This program has two basic goals: (1) to safeguard the health of children and other recipients through better nutrition and (2) to feed the needy by supplying foods needed to continue the operation of feeding programs.

The Food Distribution Program requests USDA foods based on past usage data, surveys, and Nebraska’s entitlement. The processor delivers the USDA orders by rail or truck, directly to the State Food Distribution Warehouse Center. Recipient Agencies are informed of shipments and allocations by newsletters, offering sheets, email, and our web page.

Agencies eligible for USDA foods are schools, child/adult care feeding programs, nutrition programs for the elderly, charitable institutions, summer food service programs, and summer camps. The USDA foods may also be used for mass feeding during times of major disasters.

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What is ADP?   "Average daily participation" is the average number of participants in your lunch program, 18 years and under, that were fed a countable meal on a daily basis during the previous school year as figured by Nebraska's Department of Education.

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What is PAL? "Planned Assistance Level" is the dollar amount guaranteed to be offered to your agency based on your ADP from meal counts turned into the Department of Education the previous school year.   This amount is divided into "committed" and "non-committed."

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What is the difference between PAL and entitlement?  PAL and entitlement are the same thing. 

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How is PAL/Entitlement figured?    In July the USDA sets the reimbursement allowance per meal served ($.2225 for the 2011-2012 school year).  This rate is multiplied by your number of countable meals served as reported to the Department of Education.  For example, a total number of meals served for 2010-2011 = 21,331 x the USDA reimbursement of .2225  = $4,746.15 entitlement for school year 2011-2012.

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What do I do if the number of countable meals being served goes up or down?  Figure the ADP for the last 3 months. If it has increased or decreased by 20% over what Nebraska Food Program has for your agency, request in writing an audit of your PAL, including all figures for those 3 months.  We will review your information and make any necessary changes.

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What is committed and non-committed PAL/Entitlement?  Committed PAL is the USDA dollar value of food requested by your agency from your processing survey.  The processing survey is completed in the spring for the next school year.  Committed entitlement includes processed beef, pork, chicken and turkey.  Non-committed PAL is  "Total PAL" minus "Committed PAL."  Committed meat items are listed at the beginning of the offering sheet and are designated with an  *.

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Why is there no PAL/Entitlement listed on my August offering sheet?   The Food Distribution Program uses the total number of coutable meals served for the year just ending (as reported by each agency to the Department of Education) to figure the next school year's entitlement.  August offering sheets are typically made available prior to the end of the school year; prior to each agency reporting their final meal counts to the Department of Education.  Due to the timing of these processes, we do not anticipate a change in the absence of entitlement shown on the August offering sheet.

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What does an * in front of the foods listed on Food Distribution Program documentation mean?  It designates the food as a committed process items.   See " What is committed and non-committed PAL/Entitlement?"

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What is a B or C item on the offering sheet?  B = Bonus food.  These foods are a one time purchase by the USDA as a price support measure.   The USDA value of these foods is NOT subtracted from your agency's entitlement.  C = Countable food.  These foods are purchased with the current year's entitlement dollars (PAL).  The USDA value of these foods IS subtracted from your agengy's entitlement. 

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How do I figure cost of USDA donated foods?  See Calculating Cost of USDA Donated Foods.

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How can I tell when a product has gone out of condition? Is there a single date I can refer to?  The USDA provides valuable "Best If Used By Guidance" at www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/facts/biubguidance.htm.   

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Where can I find nutrition information and dietary guidelines for USDA donated foods? The USDA provides Nutrition Information and Dietary Guidelines at www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/facts/nutritionfacts.htm.  

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