USDA may help ailing pork industry hit by H1N1
Thu May 7, 2009 2:23pm EDT
By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. pork industry, battered by import bans by nearly two dozen countries worried about the H1N1 flu outbreak, could soon receive some help from the government, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday.
"Clearly pork producers have suffered and will continue to do so until we get this turned around," Vilsack told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "We are looking at ways we can be of assistance or help," he said.
Vilsack did not go into details on what type of aid the industry might receive or when it would occur.
In a letter to the USDA earlier this week, the National Pork Producers Council said low prices have compounded a slump in the pork industry. It suggested USDA buy $50 million in pork products for donation to food pantries and hunger relief to bolster hog prices. Read More
Because consumers really don’t understand where their food comes from or how it is produced, issues like having a flu virus named after a farm animal are doomed to continue haunting agriculture. That is unless all of us take everyday opportunities to educate people about agriculture. Sometimes its easy to think we don’t have time to promote ag, but look at how much money this flu virus cost the pork industry.