WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture will buy up to $2 million of lamb products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks, the agency announced April 30.

“This purchase will provide welcome assistance to thousands of families in these challenging economic times,” said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It will also provide support to the lamb industry and the many small independent sheep growers that depend on the industry for their livelihood.

“Lamb producers have already cut production substantially and this purchase will help them bring supply in line with demand.”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases 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.