The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) commended U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack for his decision to lend assistance to U.S. pork producers to help them weather an economic crisis in the hog industry, according to a NPPC press release.

In addition to the pork it buys annually for federal food programs, the USDA will make an additional purchase of up to $25 million of pork products, which will be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food-assistance programs.

"The action by USDA to buy additional pork will benefit America's pork producers, the U.S. economy and the people who rely on the government's various food programs," said NPPC president Don Butler.


NPPC asked Vilsack to take action to address a crisis that over the past 18 months has cost the pork industry more than $3 billion in equity. Due mostly to higher feed costs, producers since October 2007 have lost an average of $20 on each hog marketed.

This is the second time in less than a year that the USDA has agreed to a supplemental pork purchase. Last April, at NPPC's request, the USDA agreed to a $50 million purchase of pork products derived from sows as a way to reduce the national herd and stabilize pork prices.