Like many pork producers, Mitch Truebenbach was losing money on each pig he sold for the last two years. For a while this spring, there was some hope that the situation would improve. Then came the H1N1 influenza outbreak and the market plummeted.

“The problem is CNN and the national media are all still calling it swine flu,” says Truebenbach. “The exports just dropped. It’s been brutal.” David Preisler, executive director of the Mankato-based Minnesota Pork Producers, says up to one-third of the state’s pork producers “are on the absolute edge,” according to the Mankato Free Press.

Trubenbach decided to take action to dispel the myth that pork is not safe because of “swine flu”. On Tuesday, Truebenbach and other pork producers from across the Midwest will host a free pork lunch in Mankato and hold a meeting to discuss the latest situation in the industry.

Lynch Livestock will provide the lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the Mankato Harley Davidson store off Highway 169 in North Mankato. A Crisis in the Swine Industry meeting will follow at 1 p.m. at the Best Western.

Preisler said hog producers in Minnesota alone are now expected to lose some $500 million. Minnesota produces 15 million hogs a year, second only to Iowa.

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Source: Mankato Free Press