The American Farm Bureau Federation has asked the Agriculture Department to make additional Section 32 purchases of pork to help provide some stability for the sector, as well as supply the healthy protein source to users of the nation's nutrition programs.

“Additional Section 32 purchases would help the pork industry at this critical time,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

According to AFBF, prices for live market hogs have plunged to levels not seen in nearly a decade. On April 1, wholesale pork prices hit their lowest level in four years at $54.87 per hundredweight, only to rebound somewhat later in the week. Yet, despite the small increase, producers still face uncertainty and a dismal outlook for their industry, Stallman said.