WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the USDA will donate 25,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat to Lebanon.

"This wheat is being shipped to Lebanon to meet urgent needs arising from the recent conflict," said Johanns. "With this wheat, Lebanon's milling and flour industry will be able to replenish its rapidly dwindling supplies and make bread readily available."

USDA received a request for the wheat from the Lebanese government on Aug.16 and immediately took steps to fulfill it. The donation will arrive in Beirut in mid-September and is part of a coordinated U.S. government response, with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The wheat will be used for a variety of projects related to food security and agricultural development in Lebanon. The donation is being made under the USDA's Food for Progress program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. The program provides for donations of agricultural commodities to needy countries to encourage economic or agricultural reforms that foster free enterprise. This fiscal year, USDA expects to donate around 560,000 tons of U.S. commodities to 28 countries under Food for Progress.

SOURCE: USDA news release.