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US to buy $3B in dairy, meat, produce from farmers, Trump tweets

The president says the U.S. will purchase $3 billion worth of products as part of programs to help farmers during the coronavirus pandemic.

WASHINGTON — The federal government will be buying $3 billion worth of dairy, meat and produce from farmers, President Trump announced on Saturday.

Starting early next week, the U.S. will spend the money to purchase from farmers, ranchers and specialty crop growers, Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon. He said on Twitter that the spending at his order is for food lines and kitchens, mentioning the Department of Agriculture's Farmers to Families Food Box program.

Specialty crop growers produce fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers as well as other products, according to the department.  

"Great news for all!" Trump said, tagging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

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On Friday, the Agriculture Department approved $1.2 billion in contracts to producers through the food box program.

"We were pleased to see the abundance of interest from both food distributors and non-profit organizations," Perdue said in a statement on the contracts. "Within days, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will begin distributing surplus food, while safeguarding food safety techniques, to communities across the country where it’s needed most."

The food boxes are part of the $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program that the president and Perdue announced last month. 

CNBC reports that the coronavirus help program will provide $16 billion to farmers and ranchers, and spend $3 billion on fresh produce, dairy products and meat for distribution at food banks. The Hill reports that the White House and Farm Bureau weren't available to provide more details on the $3 billion purchase Trump tweeted Saturday.

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Credit: AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a signing of a coronavirus aid package to direct funds to small businesses, hospitals, and testing, in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, April 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)