WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture announced plans to buy up to $35 million of turkey products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.

USDA said turkey producers have been profitable with current whole turkey prices, but may only break even or come in below profitability in the fourth quarter if feed prices remain equal to current December feed prices. The agency said producers of turkey parts and processed products have found their production costs are above the selling price for their products.

“This purchase will assist turkey producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed,” said Marketing and Regulatory Program Under Secretary Edward Avalos. “The purchase will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs.”

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) buys a variety of food products annually 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.