Friday, September 11, 2009

2 News Articles from the USDA

Via the USDA website [ link ]


WASHINGTON, September 3, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA's intention to purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in FY 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. USDA will survey potential suppliers to seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids and awarding contracts to responsible bidders. Altogether, USDA will purchase approximately $151 million in pork products for food and nutrition assistance programs this fiscal year 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," said 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.

Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthy and nutritious. Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-certified to ensure quality. USDA only purchases products that are grown in the United States.

For more information on purchase details, interested suppliers should contact Duane Williams, Contracting Officer, Livestock and Seed Program at (202)720-2650 or by e-mail The AMS Commodity Procurement Web page can be found

Grants Will Help Improve Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced almost $5 million in grants for seven State agencies to simplify the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and eligibility systems and improve access to program benefits for America's low-income households. Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP helps ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food; the program is currently serving 66 percent of all who are eligible to participate.

"The federal government plays an important role in combating food insecurity and hunger, but it is through special partnerships that we can reach people who are most in need of assistance," said Vilsack. "These grants will achieve our goal of increasing program access and participation among America's most vulnerable citizens."

This year's participation grants focus on modernizing and streamlining the application process and eligibility systems or measures to improve access by eligible households. One priority for this year's grants is to fund projects designed to improve the retention of eligible households at the point of recertification. A number of the projects are receiving funding that will support development or enhancement of on-line application systems that will facilitate both initial entry and retention of eligible households. The other priority area is to fund a partnership between a State agency and one or more private non-profit organizations. FNS continues to encourage relationships with private nonprofit organizations with strong community ties to enhance communication between the State agencies and the communities they serve.

SNAP is the cornerstone of the Nation's nutrition safety net. It is the largest of the USDA's 15 domestic nutrition assistance programs and provides crucial support and a vital supplement for low income households to buy the food they need for good health, and helps many make the transition to self-sufficiency. Public, private, non-profit, and faith and community-based organizations play an important role in ensuring that all eligible people know about SNAP and USDA's other nutrition assistance programs.

The six grantees benefiting from today's announcement are:

Florida Department of Elder Affairs

Georgia Department of Human Resources

Michigan Department of Human Services

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

City of New York Human Resources Administration

SNAP supports individuals and families in need by putting healthy foods within reach. For more information on the SNAP and FNS, visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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