USDA buys $40 million worth of chicken to help industry

17-08-2011 | |

Acknowledging troubled times poultry producers the US Department of Agriculture will purchase $40 million worth of chicken products that will go to the national school lunch program, soup kitchens and disaster victims.

“This purchase will provide welcome assistance to thousands of families in these challenging economic times,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “It will also provide support to the broiler industry and the many small independent poultry growers that depend on the industry for their livelihood. Broiler producers have already cut production substantially and this purchase will help them bring supply in line with demand.”

National Chicken Council president Mike Brown expressed the chicken industry’s gratitude. “At a time when the industry is under great stress due to the high cost of feed ingredients and the general economic slowdown, we appreciate USDA’s willingness to step forward and acquire additional chicken for various feeding programs,” Brown said. “Thanks to prevailing price trends, the government is getting a bargain on high-quality food to help meet the nutritional needs of the clients of these programs, while the industry is getting some relief from excessive inventories.”

Prices for some chicken cuts are well below a year ago while beef prices are 16% to 20% above a year ago and pork is up 22% from last year.