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on August 12, 2009

US agricultural secretary reacts to governors’ petition

Tom Vilsack cites funds crunch for being unable to meet pork industry request.

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack has said his agency is not in a position to help the swine industry by buying pork worth an additional $50 million, according to

The statement comes after governors of nine key pork-producing states signed a petition urging President Barack Obama to assist the ailing industry.

"We are down to our last $7 million or $8 million … I think in the last fiscal year $62 million worth of pork purchases have been made," Vilsack reportedly said. "When the new fiscal year starts, we [will] have a little greater flexibility … and we will make determinations in terms of what is being requested."

The petition also requested the president to lift the ban imposed on the import of Chinese poultry.

"There's a congressional restriction that the Chinese are quite concerned about and we're in the process of trying to work our way through a process that would convince members of Congress that we, through the USDA, can ensure the safety and security of any product coming from China," Vilsack said.

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