In response to pleas from pork industry leaders for assistance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced plans to purchase up to $50 million of pork products.

The products will be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs.

“We provide food assistance to one in every five Americans,” says Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. “We are working to increase benefits due to rising food costs and to ensure we have full funding for our food assistance programs.”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year for distribution by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service for the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the summer foodservice program, the food distribution program on Indian reservations, the nutrition program for the elderly, the commodity supplemental food program and the emergency food assistance program.

AMS will be publicly asking for bids to supply the desired quantity and awarding contracts to responsible bidders.

Products will be USDA-graded or graded to ensure quality. Purchases will be comprised of products of 100% domestic origin.

More information on USDA programs is available at www.usda.gov.