USDA is making a big nut buy. Did pistachio producers ask for it?

Sometimes USDA buys agricultural commodities—often when farmers of whatever goods are taking a hit. But Modern Farmer flagged an impending mammoth USDA expenditure: $40 million in pistachios, which are being harvested in record amounts in California. Why this purchase, which takes buying bulk nuts to a new level? USDA blames oversupply, but these transactions can be spurred by market conditions, needs in federal food-assistance programs, and industry requests. One such request came from West Coast seafood producers in April, and USDA will open its bureaucratic wallet pretty wide, spending about $70 millon on different fish and shrimp. According to a press release, that’s the agency’s largest seafood purchase ever. But it declined to say whether nut companies made a similar ask. Also on the USDA grocery list this go-round: apricots, peaches, lentils, navy beans, and chickpeas.

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