USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) purchases food products for distribution through several of the Department's food assistance programs. This report describes FSA purchase methods and compares them to procurement strategies used by other Federal agencies and by private sector firms. It summarizes the principal policy issues faced by FSA in designing procurement strategies. And it uses a detailed statistical analysis to compare FSA prices to those realized in the private sector, and to identify the separate effects of agricultural commodity prices, seasonality, client location, purchase volumes, product characteristics, and competition on FSA product prices.


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