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Vilsack angry over media’s “swine flu” references

Months after the H1N1 virus came on the scene – many media outlets are still calling it the “swine flu.” Brownfield asked U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday if he is dismayed by that, “Dismayed would not be a proper characterization of how I feel. It’s anger. And the reason it is – is because there are real people behind this.”And Vilsack says those real people are hard-working farmers, “I continually think about the farm families that are working hard every day trying to put food on our table(s). They need all the help they can get. The last thing they need is to have somebody – just because it’s easier, just because it’s a little bit catchier – using the wrong term and hurting them.”

And without using the term “swine flu” himself, Vilsack tells Brownfield members of the media still calling it that need to understand what it’s costing farmers, “You know, I think it would be great if a lot of these folks who casually refer to the flu as something other than H1N1 would be face to face with these farm families, know their struggles, know how hard it is to raise hogs, know how difficult it is to put food on the table and maybe they would be a little bit more sensitive than they are today.”

Vilsack says the U.S. government is repeating the consistent message to U.S. trading partners that there is not a problem with pork. Last week, Vilsack authorized a $30 Million purchase of pork for federal nutrition assistance programs – bringing the total to $151 Million this year to try and help pork producers.

Vilsack says his heart goes out to all farm families who are suffering.

AUDIO: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Brownfield interview 9/3/2009 (3:00 min.)

Brownfield – Farm Bureau leaders discuss pork crisis with Vilsack

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