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The Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program

An essential component of a successful program to feed hungry Ohioans is the ability to leverage public‑private partnerships for maximum impact. In Ohio today, there is perhaps no better example of a public‑private partnership than that of the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program (OACP) formerly the Ohio Agricultural Surplus Clearance Program or OASPA.

Formed over 10 years ago, OACP is a statewide effort to direct Ohio’s surplus of agricultural products through the network of foodbanks in our state to ensure that Ohio families have a source of nutritious, Ohio‑grown/raised, and produced food products. OACP works with Ohio’s agricultural community and commodity groups to provide foodbanks with surplus and unmarketable agricultural products at production cost. The program is funded by the Ohio General Assembly and administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

OACP is operated by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF) to help our organization achieve its goal of working toward a hunger‑free Ohio. As Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, OASHF helps provide food and funding to support the infrastructure of 12 member America’s Second Harvest Foodbanks. Last year, Ohio’s foodbanks distributed more than 90 million pounds of food and groceries to over 2,800 member charities including food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other food assistance organizations. Included in the food provided to Ohio families are surplus commodity products from over 100 agriculture producers through the OACP program.


The Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program (OACP) is an innovative collective effort of the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, member foodbanks and agencies, the agricultural community and local food processors. It builds relationships between Ohio’s farm commodity producers, processors, foodbanks, and emergency food providers. It is a collaborative effort with the primary goal of providing fresh produce and processed food products to clients while improving the capacity of member agencies to feed hungry individuals. As a market-clearing initiative, it does not impact the profits of the farm community, but helps both farmers and foodbanks to make use of surplus commodities. Benefits of the program include preventing waste, providing nutritious commodities for foodbanks, and reducing losses for farmers and growers.

This program was developed through the hard work of the OACP Advisory Committee, including representatives from The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, the farm community, commodity groups, Second Harvest Foodbanks in Ohio, hunger relief organizations, governmental programs, and The Ohio State University. Initial legislative efforts netted $1 million to develop this hunger-fighting effort over a two-year period. OACP officially began in October of 1999, and despite drought conditions, distributed apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and other fresh produce to foodbanks, food pantries, and soup kitchens across the state. Today it is funded at a level of $2.9 million. Read More

Capacity Building Grants for Member Agencies

Once a vital part of OACP the Capacity Building Component should be considered for those agencies starting their own Clearance Program. In SFY 2006 due to the dramatic increases seen at the local level and the decline of private and public donations the decision was made to use the funding provided by the Ohio General Assembly would be used to purchase food. It is our hope that this program will be available again in Ohio at a later time.

Increasing the capacity necessary to handle produce improves the quality of services. The purpose of capacity building grants is to increase member agency’s ability to serve by purchasing equipment that enhances and expands their capabilities. Funding for the capacity building component is built into the money received from the state legislature. The capacity building component could be incorporated into a program like the OACP as well. Equipment can range from fax machines and handcarts to refrigerators and freezers.
Identifying goal factors and funds available.

Innovative Programming Grants

Improving service capacities for member agencies is not limited to handcarts and freezer units. Innovative program grants are an important part of capacity building efforts. These grants support innovative approaches to alleviating hunger and its consequences, and may include conferences, training, or technical assistance. An example of a successful innovative grant is a local member agency that used capacity building funds to secure meat certificates for its clients. The application process for innovative program grants remains the same.

The Future of the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program

The Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program is a multifaceted program that has grown and developed quickly in its short existence. There have been challenges, successes, discoveries, and visions for the future. Now, it is our hope that other states, partners, and organizations will be able to participate.

The three major problems within the OACP program have been: locating funding to administer the program and hire staff, the capacity of smaller foodbanks to handle larger amounts of produce, and the logistical challenge of moving produce from where it is grown to the areas of the state that need it the most. Movement of produce can be cost prohibitive in smaller quantities. Administrative cost issues could be resolved by adding this expense to the legislative budget, and allowing for growth in staff. The problems related to foodbank participation are more complex. Smaller foodbanks often lack transportation and storage capabilities, and may lose out on fresh produce. The capacity building component so far has only reached out to agencies; finding funding to increase the capacities of smaller foodbanks would help to expand the scope of the OACP program. Cooperative efforts and alternative resources may help to overcome this gap.

Overall, the OACP has been extremely successful, and has grown each year. Since inception through June 2007, over 72.6 million pounds of fresh Ohio produce, including apples, peppers, sweet corn, peaches, potatoes, and Ohio raised protein items, including chicken and eggs, and more were made available to over 2,800 local foodbanks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and ultimately, hungry Ohioans. It was also successful in providing freezers, hand carts, dollies, printers and fax machines to expand the capacity of the agencies and make the jobs of food providers easier. James E. Gepperth, Catholic Charities Services, Lorain County, states, “The Agricultural Clearance Program has helped him to give needy families both help and hope, which is the true measure of success for the program.

OFPACP Reporting Forms

Receiving Report

Damaged/Spoilage Report

Monthly Inventory Report

Quarterly Compliance Data

Monthly/Quarterly Statistical Report


Ohio Deptartment of Health WIC Program (Women, Infants, & Children)

Ohio Department of Aging Senior Farmer's Markets Program

Farmer Involvement

Support Ohio's farming - buy Ohio locally grown produce and commodities at your local farmers markets. Many of your local markets accept WIC and Senior Farmer's Market Coupons and the Ohio Direction Card.

FUNFACT: Unless your grocery store buys locally most produce takes 3 to 5 days to get to their shelves. When you buy locally it was either picked that morning or the day before.

Search for a local market