USDA to support domestic nutrition programs and pork producers


WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA’s intention is to purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in FY 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

To invite bids

USDA will survey potential suppliers to seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids and awarding contracts to responsible bidders.

Altogether, USDA has purchased approximately $151 million in pork products for food and nutrition assistance programs this year through annual appropriation and Recovery Act funding.

“This action will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, stimulate the economy and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs,” Vilsack said.


The pork products scheduled for purchase will reflect the variety of high-quality food products USDA provides each year 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.

USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters. Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthy and nutritious.

Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-certified to ensure quality.

USDA only purchases products that are grown in the United States.


The National Pork Producers Council commended Vilsack for his decision to lend assistance to the U.S. pork industry to help it weather a nearly 2-year-old economic crisis that has put some producers out of business.

USDA also is working to reopen pork export markets that closed in the wake of the H1N1 flu outbreak.

“The action by USDA to buy additional pork will benefit America’s pork producers, the U.S. economy and the people who benefit from government food programs,” said National Pork Producers Council President Don Butler.

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