The USDA announced last month a $170 million dollar purchase of lamb, pork, chicken and catfish for federal food nutrition programs, including food banks, National School Lunch Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. The purchase aims to alleviate pressure on farmers that have been affected by the recent drought and to help avoid rising food costs for consumers. It is said to be the worst drought year since the 1950's.
The purchase breakdown in dollars is: $100 million in pork products; $10 million in catfish; $50 million in chicken; and $10 million in lamb products. The purchases will assist "producers who are currently struggling due to the challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak said in a statement.