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 radioiowa.com.
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.