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Bleeding U. S. Pork Sector Wants Help Too

Governors of nine U. S. states have called on President Barack Obama Aug. 7 to spend $50 million to buy up excess pork supplies.

The calls came as prices for hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell anew to their lowest levels in more than six years amid growing concerns over demand, abundant supplies and high feed costs.

In a letter to Obama, the governors said the pork industry provided about 550,200 jobs, ranging from producers to processors, across rural America.

The letter said pork producers have lost about $330 million in profits since the outbreak of the H1N1 flu in April, and the losses could total more than $1 billion by October.

Neil Dierks, chief executive officer of the National Pork Producers Council, told the conference call that producers have been losing about $21, or 15 to 20 per cent, for every hog they have been selling since late 2007.

He said the troubles of the pork industry began late in 2007 around the time when the economy slipped in a recession.

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