USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service yesterday awarded 49.4 million pounds of chicken to four companies under its recently-announced bonus purchase program. The total value of all contracts including transportation costs is $49.8 million. Distribution of the chicken will be via the federal food nutrition assistance programs for fiscal year 2013.

“Members of the National Chicken Council are most appreciative of USDA’s timely action that was in response to NCC’s request of August 21, 2013. The purchase of leg quarters will not only help stabilize the prices for this product but will, at the same time, provide a very preferred animal protein to needy recipients in the coming months. NCC is grateful to the many department employees who worked diligently to have the request turned into actual purchases in such an abbreviated window of time,” said NCC President Mike Brown in response to the USDA announcement.

Brown noted in his August 21 letter to USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack that there has been a significant build up in dark meat chicken parts in cold storage and added that continued low prices for parts, like leg quarters, offer an opportunity for the department to provide worthy, financially-stressed recipients with a wholesome protein at a favorable value.

In a follow-up letter earlier this month, Brown acknowledged the department’s announcement to conduct a bonus purchase program and thanked Secretary Vilsack for his favorable decision to NCC’s request. He explained that the program will provide for a more stable market for dark meat chicken parts which, in turn, will give greater confidence to family farmers who grow chickens and industry employees who get the chicken from the farm through the processing plants to the customers.

Contracts were awarded to the following vendors in response to Solicitation 2000002039 that was issued on September 6, 2013.

  • Peco Foods, Tuscaloosa, AL – 2,432,000 pounds of 4/10-pound leg quarters
  • OK Foods, Fort Smith, AR  – 6,840,000 pounds of 4/10-pound leg quarters
  • Pilgrim’s Pride, Greeley, CO  – 10,906,000 pounds of 4/10-pound leg quarters
  • Tyson Foods, Springdale, AR – 29,222,000 pounds of 4/10-pound leg quarters and 30,058,000 pounds of 8/5-pound leg quarters

AMS said the period of performance is from September 26, 2013, through February 28, 2014. The unit prices awarded range from $0.5595 to $0.6644 per pound for 4/10-pound leg quarters and $0.6002 to $0.7301 per pound for 8/5-pound leg quarters. The total dollar value of all contracts is $49.8 million.