No, not the kind you're thinking about.
In this case, we're talking about what's known as "the other white meat."
Seven of North Carolina’s members of Congress have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect the pork industry from its economic troubles by buying $100 million worth of meat for the USDA’s federal food assistance programs.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, they say the recession and the recent swine flu outbreak have hurt the industry. The lawmakers thanked Vilsack for his push earlier this year to call the swine flu virus H1N1 to disassociate it from pork products, but they said the impacts of the scare have hurt the industry.
The letter notes that USDA already has announced $30 million in purchases through the end of the fiscal year, reports Barb Barrett.
“We asking for additional help with the economic crisis the U.S. pork industry currently faces,” the letter reads. “Without your assistance, we are putting thousands of rural jobs and businesses at risk.”
The N.C. lawmakers are Democratic U.S. Reps. Bob Etheridge, Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller and G.K. Butterfield, along with Republican U.S. Reps. Howard Coble and Walter Jones. Fifty-five other lawmakers also signed the letter.
They want Vilsack to use $100 million to buy pork for federal food assistance programs, with an emphasis on sow meat to reduce breeding stock.
In addition, the letter seeks help in international trade relations.
China has imposed restrictions on U.S. pork imports since the outbreak of H1N1, the letter says, and lawmakers asked Vilsack to work with the U.S. Trade Representative to open China’s market to more imports.
The letter also asks for help in monitoring swine disease outbreaks at pig farms.