USDA To Purchase More Pork Products

November 11, 2009

Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600

Washington, D.C., November 11, 2009 – The National Pork Producers Council today commended U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his decision to purchase up to $50 million of pork products, which will be used for various federal food programs. The purchase should help struggling pork producers, who have been mired in a 2-year-long economic crisis.

“The action by USDA to buy additional pork will benefit America’s pork producers, the U.S. economy and the people who rely on government food programs,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “NPPC is extremely grateful to Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the plight of our producers and for taking action to help them. The pork purchase is an important step that will help our industry bring pork supply and demand back into balance and allow producers to continue providing consumers worldwide with economical, nutritious pork products.”

Since September 2007, the U.S. pork industry has lost $5.4 billion, with producers losing an average of more than $23 on each hog marketed.

The pork buy is the third supplemental purchase this year. In March, USDA agreed to buy $25 million of pork, and in early September it bought an additional $30 million. Annually, the agency buys pork for federal food programs, including the School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. Last year, for example, USDA purchased $62.6 million worth of pork.

NPPC also thanked Congress for its efforts to help the U.S. pork industry, particularly the 63 House and 24 Senate members who signed onto a letter to Vilsack, urging him to make additional purchases of pork.

“The support U.S. pork producers have received from Secretary Vilsack and many members of Congress has been tremendous and very much appreciated,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “And this latest purchase of pork should provide some relief to our industry and to rural America.”

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org