Murkowski, Sullivan Applaud USDA Purchase of Seafood for Food Assistance Programs

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of a Section 32 purchase of up to $52 million in Pacific and Alaskan Groundfish, such as cod, haddock, pollock, and flounder, for distribution to food assistance programs in Alaska and across the country.         

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only further highlighted the longstanding disparities in food insecurity, reminding us that millions of Americans, including Alaskans, struggle to feed their families. This issue is only exacerbated by the historic levels of inflation that currently plagues our nation,” said Senator Murkowski. “Today’s announcement is welcome news as it will provide much-needed support for our seafood industry, which continues to face the impacts of COVID-19, and provide healthy, Alaskan fish to hungry Americans. With this purchase of domestic groundfish, we can lessen the challenges facing Alaska’s seafood sector as well as ensure food assistance programs are able to supply Americans with the healthy, nutritious foods they need and deserve. I appreciate the USDA for recognizing the need in Alaska and working alongside Senator Sullivan and I to help meet it.”

“Our state has suffered extraordinary economic hardship over the last few years, with the impacts of the pandemic layered on top of an unprecedented number of fisheries disasters,” Senator Sullivan said. “Our great fishing industry is a pillar of Alaska’s economy and culture, and is critical to America’s food supply chain. It’s welcome news that the USDA awarded $52 million dollars to purchase Alaskan seafood, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to promote healthy, sustainable seafood in the diets of all Americans.”

Background: Section 32 funds are so named because they are authorized by Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act.  The Act authorizes a percentage of customs receipts to be transferred to the Secretary of Agriculture to support the prices of surplus domestic commodities and to distribute those commodities through various USDA programs designed to feed hungry Americans.  Foods purchased with Section 32 funds are distributed to schools, childcare programs, senior citizens, food banks, victims of disasters, and Indian tribes through programs such as the National School Lunch Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.  The Section 32 purchase announced today will include:

  • Almonds: Up to $65 million
  • Pistachios: Up to $10 million
  • Pacific/Alaskan Groundfish/Seafood Product: Up to $52 million
  • Raisins: Up to $5 million