USDA To Buy $470 Million Worth Of Surplus Food Amid Outbreak

The department will distribute the surplus food to those in need in the U.S.

USDA To Buy $470 Million Worth Of Surplus Food Amid Outbreak
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will be spending $470 million to buy surplus food, helping out farmers and communities in need that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement Monday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "America's farmers and ranchers have experienced a dislocated supply chain caused by the Coronavirus. USDA is in the unique position to purchase these foods and deliver them to the hungry Americans who need it most."

According to the statement, the department will be purchasing the food during the third quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, in addition to "purchases previously announced."

The department says it plans to spend $120 million on dairy products, $70 million on fish and $50 million on potatoes. Other foods being purchased include chicken, asparagus, pork, turkey products and an assortment of fruits and other vegetables. 

According to POLITICO, this announcement follows a report by the outlet in which it noted that the department has been slow to make food purchases despite a growing demand at food banks. Across the country, food banks are reporting growing lines outside their doors as more Americans struggle to meet their basic needs amid layoffs and furloughs because of the virus.