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Peachy USDA deal helps Calif farmers relieve glut


Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Federal officials are giving California peach farmers a boost by buying thousands of tons of canned peaches.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced Friday that they're working to reduce a glut of peaches on the market by buying 21,000 tons of canned peaches for school lunch and other food programs.

The purchase is part of a federal program that helps protect U.S. farmers from lower-priced foreign imports.

The USDA will spend $11.4 million for the clingstone peaches under a program, established in 1935, that earmarks the equivalent of 30 percent of customs receipts to support U.S. farmers. Chinese peaches account for 63 percent of the import market.

The purchase will help relieve the California glut that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says has been driving down peach prices.

With harvest just weeks away, growers are having trouble securing contracts because of the oversupply of peaches.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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