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Bleeding U.S. Pork Sector Seeks $50 Mln

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Governors of nine U.S. states, where the pork sector faces a bleak outlook, called on President Barack Obama August 7 to spend $50 million to buy up excess pork supplies.

The governors, led by Chet Culver of Iowa, were joined in a conference call by pork industry officials, who urged the government to press China into reopening its borders closed to U.S. pork after the outbreak of H1N1 flu.

The calls came as prices for hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell anew to their lowest levels in more than six years amid growing concerns over demand, abundant supplies and high feed costs.

In a letter to Obama dated Aug. 7, the governors said the pork industry provided about 550,200 jobs, ranging from producers to processors, across rural America.

The letter said pork producers have lost about $330 million in profits since the outbreak of the H1N1 flu in April, and the losses could total more than $1 billion by October.

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