The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase an extra $40 million in chicken products in addition to the $100 million in scheduled chicken purchases it makes each year for various federal nutrition assistance programs, including donations to food banks.

The purchase will provide support to the broiler industry and to small poultry growers, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Broiler producers have had to cut production due to recent low demand in the market, and the USDA's extra purchase will help bring supply back in line, said Vilsack.

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“At a time when the industry is under great stress due to the high cost of feed ingredients and the general economic slowdown, we appreciate the USDA’s willingness to step forward and acquire additional chicken for various feeding programs,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “Thanks to prevailing price trends, the government is getting a bargain on high-quality food to help meet the nutritional needs of the clients of these programs, while the industry is getting some relief from excessive inventories.”