"NPPC REQUESTS PORK PURCHASES, CREATES TASK FORCE"
Responding to the sudden drop in live hog prices, the National Pork
Producers Council, this week asked senior USDA officials to use all existing
programs and authorities to the fullest extent possible to purchase pork and
pork products, NPPC President Dave Roper said.
Roper and other NPPC board members met with USDA Secretary Ann Veneman,
Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bill Hawks, Agriculture
Marketing Administrator A.J. Yates and Ambassador Allen Johnson, the Chief
Agricultural Trade Negotiator.
"We stressed the need for immediate and decisive action to stimulate a price
rebound," Roper said. "We asked USDA to make additional purchases of pork
for the school breakfast and lunch programs, the Emergency Food Assistance
Program and other program, both domestic and international. We also
stressed the need for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority, which will
increase the prospects for tearing down foreign barriers to U.S. pork."
In addition, the NPPC Board created an ad hoc task force designed to explore
long-term initiatives to strengthen the industry's financial position.
"Due to current market conditions and the outlook for ample supplies of pork
for the remainder of this year, the NPPC Board of Directors has established
an ad-hoc task force, comprised of industry and government, to explore ideas
for improving the financial prospects for pork producers," Roper said.
"This task force, which will be inclusive of all industry segments and will
include representatives of USDA and industry partners, will supplement
external marketing of hogs, pork and pork products and explore additional
opportunities domestically and internationally. We hope the current price
downturn was precipitated by unrelated events, however, we want to begin the
process now of identifying initiatives that can be implemented later in the
year if supplies begin to challenge the capacity of packing plants."
Roper said individual members of the task force would be named shortly, as
well the time and place of its first meeting.