The governors of nine key pork-producing states urged President Barack Obama to rescue the industry reeling from high commodity prices and disease scares, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The letter, sent Friday, July 7, urged Obama to buy pork worth an additional $50 million for government nutrition programs, withdraw the ceiling on the amount of surplus product the Agriculture Department can purchase, and expand export markets, primarily to China.

The request was signed by the governors of Iowa, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

The swine flu scare has cost pork producers $330 million in profits, the governors said, predicting that losses up to October could top $1 billion and cripple the rural economy.