Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA plans to purchase $161.4 million in foods for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. The purchases will be for up to $40 million dollars of beef products; $2 million of lamb products; $5 million of catfish; $32 million of fresh and processed apple products; $1.1 million of blackberries; $21 million of red tart cherries; $18 million of cranberry products; $5 million of dried figs; $9.3 million of dried plums; $18 million of potatoes; $7 million of strawberries; and $3 million of fresh and canned pears.
In making the announcement Secretary Vilsack called these purchases a win-win because they help provide healthy food to kids and families throughout the country, while benefiting producers by providing a customer for these products. Many of these products are in surplus, so these purchases will help alleviate the stress caused by higher inventories and low prices that farmers and ranchers are receiving for their commodities.
In addition, these food purchases will help support local food banks and other national nutrition programs by providing a wide variety of products. Products include 100% fruit juices, fresh and processed apple products, and lean meat products.