The USDA has announced up to $177.4 million in purchases of American-grown products for nutrition assistance programs using a new streamlined process. The products that will be purchased will be provided to families in need through nutrition assistance programs. Included in the purchase will be $11 million worth of pinto beans.
The purchase, through USDA’s Section 32, is the result of a March 2018, request by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association and the North Central Bean Dealers Association. The letter was sent as a joint effort to request action to resolve the surplus inventory problem for pinto beans. This is the third Section 32 purchase since 2015. USDA’s Section 32 program is designed to support growers through the purchase of surplus commodities.
“We are grateful to the USDA for their quick action in assisting both dry bean growers and Americans that need it the most, to create a win-win situation for the farming community and Americans in need,” Tom Kennelly, president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association said. “We would also like to congratulate and extend thanks to our leaders in congress from Minnesota and North Dakota, and also the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for their combined efforts and attentiveness on this issue,” Kennelly said.
Dan Fuglesten, president of the North Central Bean Dealers Association was enthusiastic when asked about the purchase, “Our joint request was timely and we are happy that action was taken immediately. Programs such as UDSA’s Section 32 deliver an immediate and very positive result back to our rural communities.”
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service purchases a variety of high-quality food each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.
Under the new streamlined process, USDA will proactively monitor market conditions and provide a more predictable and consistent process for determining when to make such purchases.