Governors urge Obama to help pork producers

The National Pork Producers Council has commended the governors from a number of the nation's top pork-producing states for urging President Obama to take immediate action to help US pork producers through a nearly 2-year-old economic crisis.

In a letter sent to the president, the governors of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin asked the administration to:
• Support at least an additional $50 million of pork purchases for government feeding programs. (The US Department of Agriculture annually buys pork for federal food programs; it bought nearly $62.6 million worth in 2008, for example.)
• Remove a spending cap on USDA's Section 32 food-assistance program so that additional purchases of surplus agriculture products, including pork, can be made. (Congress imposed the cap as part of USDA's fiscal 2009 budget.)
• Urge China to quickly lift a ban on US pork that was put in place because of the H1N1 flu outbreak and to eliminate other barriers to US pork exports.
“Today, the pork industry is facing an economic crisis that is catastrophic in nature,” said the governors in their letter to the president. “For the pork industry to remain as vibrant entities in rural communities, we need your prompt actions to assure that our communities and the US pork industry remain competitive world wide.”
Since September 2007, the US pork industry has lost nearly $4.4 billion, with producers losing an average of $21.37 per pig over the past 21 months. Many pork producers have gone, or are in jeopardy of going, out of business, threatening thousands of the more than 550,000 mostly rural jobs they help support.
“US pork producers, who provide America's families with a safe, wholesome, nutritious product, are grateful to the governors for intervening on their behalf with President Obama,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “These state executives recognize that pork production is a significant value-added industry for their states and for our country.”
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