Vilsack v Drudge

US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack (the former Iowa governor) is in a war of words with The Drudge Report. If you click on Drudge right now (11:57 a.m. Iowa time on July 20, 2009) you will see a picture of Vilsack to the right of a picture of President Obama, with the headline "IN DEFENSE OF HAM!"  Drudge linked to some items, such as this and this and this.

Vilsack issued a statement this morning which you can read below.

Response to Drudge Item on Recovery Act Funding
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack  
"Through the Recovery Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made $100 million available to the states for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which acquires food that is distributed to local organizations that assist the needy – including food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.

"The Recovery Act funds referenced in press reports allowed states to purchase ham, cheese and dairy products for these food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries that provide assistance to people who otherwise do not have access to food. This program will help reduce hunger of those hardest hit by the current economic recession.

"The references to "2 pound frozen ham sliced" are to the sizes of the packaging. Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.191 million to buy "2 pounds of ham" are wrong. In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191 million, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound. In terms of the dairy purchase referenced, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) purchased 837,936 pounds of mozzarella cheese and 4,039,200 pounds of processed cheese. The canned pork purchase was 8,424,000 pounds at a cost of $16,784,000, or approximately $1.99 per pound.

"While the principal purpose of these expenditures is to provide food to those hardest hit by these tough times, the purchases also provide a modest economic benefit of benefiting Americans working at food retailers, manufacturers and transportation companies as well as the farmers and ranchers who produce our food supply." 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Great! The US paid $1.50-$2.00 a pound for ham,and it costs 1/2 that at ANY grocery store! That’s a HUGE savings compared to what the government usually pays for something!