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Published June 25, 2009, 12:41 PM

Minn, Iowa ag officials seek help for pork farmers

The top agriculture officials in Minnesota and Iowa are asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to help the struggling pork industry.

By: Associated Press,

MINNEAPOLIS — The top agriculture officials in Minnesota and Iowa are asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to help the struggling pork industry.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey want Vilsack to use $50 million in existing federal funds to buy pork products. The pork would then go to federal food programs.

In a joint letter to Vilsack this week, they say the purchase would give producers a boost by reducing excess supplies of pork in the marketplace, while providing food to people in need.

Hugoson and Northey say misplaced fears over food safety in the wake of the swine flu outbreak have contributed to the severe losses pork producers were already facing.

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