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Feds Buying $29M In California Prunes For Food Banks

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Plums and prunes. (credit: AP)

Plums and prunes. (credit: AP)

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FRESNO (AP) — California’s plum growers are receiving a boost from the federal government, which is purchasing $26 million worth of prunes for food banks and nutrition programs.

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

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Tuesday announced the purchase from California growers stuck with a glut of almost 25 tons of fruit this year.

Donn Zea, executive director of the California Dried Plum Board, praised the move and said it’ll be helpful to farmers.

The order is more than double the USDA’s purchase of $11.7 million worth of plums last year.

Prunes are made from dried French D’Agen plums. California grows 99 percent of the U.S. supply.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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