Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA intends to purchase $29.1 million worth of blueberry, pear, potato, peach and mixed fruit products for federal food nutrition assistance programs. The breakdown includes $9 million dollars of fresh potatoes, $8.2 million of peach and mixed fruit products, $7 million for frozen blueberries, and $4.9 million for fresh pears and canned pears packed in light or extra light syrup.
According to the department, a number of economic factors have led to surpluses, so these purchases will help alleviate the stress caused by higher inventories and low prices that farmers are receiving for their commodities. In addition, these funds will help support the rural economy by putting revenue into the hands of growers, which can stimulate economic activity at the local level.
These healthy food purchases will go to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program.