(Adds details about purchase)
WASHINGTON Dec 23 The United States
Agriculture Department said on Tuesday it bought about 60.451
million pounds of chicken products for about $42.2 million for
school lunch and other nutrition assistance programs.
The purchase program was announced last month to help the
chicken industry, which has been hit hard by high feed and fuel
costs amid slowing demand from cost-conscious consumers.
Close to 30 million pounds of chicken -- almost half the
total -- was bought from Pilgrim's Pride Corp PGPDQ.PK, the
Pilgrim's Pride, the top U.S. chicken producer, filed for
voluntary bankruptcy earlier this month because of the
difficult economic conditions.
The USDA also bought 16.787 million pounds from Tyson Foods
Inc (TSN.N), the No. 2 producer.
Nine of 13 companies that submitted proposals to the
program were successful, the USDA said.
Shipping costs to delivery destinations will be added to
the price when the products are delivered between Jan. 1 and
March 31, the USDA said.
A report with details about the purchase was not
immediately available on the USDA's web site.
* USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service commodity purchasing
(Washington commodities desk, 202 898 8376)