The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today agreed to purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in fiscal year 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

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

“These purchases will assist pork producers who are currently struggling due to depressed market conditions and reflects the Obama Administration’s ongoing work to support struggling producers,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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.”

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.

In an Aug. 17 letter to USDA, the National Pork Producers Council had requested $250 million in financial assistance and other actions to help producers who since September 2007 have lost an average of more than $21 on each hog marketed.

For more information on purchase details, interested suppliers should contact Duane Williams, contracting officer, Livestock and Seed Program at (202) 720-2650 or duane.williams2@ams.usda.gov. The Agricultural Marketing Service’s Commodity Procurement has more information.