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USDA announces $50 million pork purchase

November 11, 2009

Good news from USDA, the department announced Wednesday that it will purchase another $50 million in pork products for federal food nutrition assistance programs.

Motivated to get the federal government to respond to falling pork prices and closed export markets, Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson, AFBF President Bob Stallman, and the presidents of North Carolina and Iowa Farm Bureaus met with Secretary Vilsack in early September and requested the purchase along with some other actions to support producers.

With our encouragement, Reps. Phil Hare, Tim Johnson, Debbie Halvorson, Aaron Schock, and Bill Foster signed on to an Oct. 2 letter to Vilsack requesting $100 million in pork purchases and efforts to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork.

This is the third USDA pork purchase this year.

Today’s actions will help stabilize prices and markets, stimulate the economy and provide high-quality food to Americans in need of USDA’s nutrition assistance programs,” Vilsack said.

USDA says the pork purchase will help farmers greatly reduce their sow herd in a market where production costs continue to exceed market value.

Following meetings of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), China announced late last month that it intends to reopen its markets to U.S. pork.  China will remove a May 2009 A/H1N1 related ban on U.S. pork imports.

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