The nation's hog producers have seen losses average $17.69 on each hog marketed as of May 1, with total losses reaching $7.2 million each day between April 24 and May 1. Given those loses and based on May 1 futures prices, National Pork Producers Council President Don Butler says a bad situation for pork producers has been exacerbated and could get worse unless the industry gets some relief. NPPC is looking to USDA for that relief.
The NPPC has sent a letter to USDA citing the negative effects of what initially was misnamed swine influenza and is now known as the H1N1 flu or Influenza A. To stem the losses, NPPC has asked Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to implement a USDA purchase program; urge the President to work on removing export restrictions; and develop a comprehensive surveillance program for swine diseases.
Congress is trying to help in regard to the trade restrictions as a bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators wrote to President Barack Obama calling on him to help combat the unfounded concerns that are impeding pork trade at home and abroad. The members of Congress would like President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to continue to place a high priority on maintaining access to pork and meat exports around the world.