Posted Aug. 13, 2012
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA's intent to purchase up to $100 million of pork products in an effort to assist drought-strapped livestock farmers.
Additional lamb, chicken and catfish purchases will push the total USDA buy to $170 million. The meat will be used for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.
The purchase will help relieve pressure on American livestock producers during the drought, while helping to bring the nation's meat supply in line with demand while providing high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs, according to a USDA news release.
"President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America's farmers and ranchers through this difficult time," said Vilsack. "These purchases will assist pork, catfish, chicken and lamb producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought. The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs."
The National Pork Producers Council issued a statement this morning saying it is grateful for USDA’s $100 million supplemental pork purchase.
“This purchase will help pork producers who are struggling with the effects of this severe drought, which has adversely affected much of the nation’s corn crop,” NPPC said. “In fact, many producers still face the prospect of severe losses because of record-high feed prices, which have gone up because of the drought. NPPC will continue to work with USDA to help pork producers through this current crisis.
Through the Emergency Surplus Removal Program, USDA can use Section 32 funds to purchase meat and poultry products to assist farmers and ranchers who have been affected by natural disasters. The pork, lamb and catfish purchases are based on analyses of current market conditions. A major factor affecting livestock producers is the value of feed, which is currently running high because of the drought.
USDA says the move is part of the Obama administration's commitment to do everything it can to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted by the nation's persistent drought.