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April 15, 2002   Email to Friend 

"NPPC REQUESTS PORK PURCHASES, CREATES TASK FORCE"
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
April 15, 2002

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.


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