THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW RELIEF FUNDS EXPECTED FOR FAMILY FARMS THAT PRODUCE HOGS
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to make direct cash payments to thousands of family farm hog producers in Iowa and across the nation to help them cope with disastrously low hog prices.
"The President and I are deeply committed to the preservation of the family farm, and we are taking aggressive action to help farmers get through these difficult times," Vice President Gore said. "While we are encouraged by the recent strengthening in hog prices, additional aid is needed to help family farms that produce hogs meet their living and operating expenses."
In the next several weeks, the USDA expects to make approximately $50 million in payments to family farmers to help them meet their living and operating expenses.
The Vice President and Agriculture Secretary Glickman have announced a series of initiatives in the last few months to help pork producers. In October, the Vice President announced that Argentina would be lifting the ban on United States pork. And just a couple of weeks ago, he announced that the USDA would purchase an additional $15 million worth of pork for programs to feed the needy.
In addition, the Vice President announced an emergency transfer of $80 million to accelerate USDA's voluntary hog pseudorabies eradication program. Pseudorabies is an extremely contagious virus that causes costly reproductive problems in hogs, although it poses no risk to humans. The additional funds will be used to compensate hog producers with infected hogs and could remove up to 1.7 million hogs from the market, and will help to eliminate pseudorabies.
In Iowa, there are 632 herds, comprising 479,000 hogs that are infected with pseudorabies.
"I want to reassure pork producers and their families that President Clinton and I are doing everything we can to help soften the blows and get producers back on their feet, not just so they can survive, but so they can share in this nation's continuing prosperity," the Vice President said.