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USDA buys $42M worth of catfish at request of Mississippi congressional delegation

Mississippi catfish
Photo courtesy of the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has purchased $42 million of catfish products for distribution to various nutrition assistance programs, including charitable institutions.

Members of Mississippi’s congressional delegation led the way in securing this transaction by sending a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The letter requested for Vilsack to use “Section 32,” a permanently-authorized program, to make emergency purchases of surplus U.S. commodities, such as Mississippi catfish, for distribution to domestic food assistance programs.

RELATED: Mississippi lawmakers urge USDA to purchase state’s farm-raised catfish

Section 32 purchases assist U.S. catfish producers with reducing the risk of financial insecurity resulting from sharply-climbing inventories and increases in feed costs.

USDA provided notification of the purchase approval on Wednesday.

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., U.S. Representatives Trent Kelly, R-Miss., and Michael Guest, R-Miss, as well as former Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., were all involved in the process.

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