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March 26, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today thanked the owners and operators of Illinois' McDonald's restaurants for adding the McRib sandwich to the menu and helping Illinois Pork Producers.

"There is an oversupply of pork in Illinois and our pork producers have fallen on hard times," Ryan said. "By increasing the demand for pork we can give our farmers a better return on their investment and a needed boost. This program is a great example of how small business owners can help other small businesses."

The McRib Sandwich will be added to the menu of more than 600 McDonald's restaurants in Illinois to create a potential demand of up to 400,000 pounds of pork. To support this effort, participating McDonald's will keep the McRib on their menu until the end of September.

"This is a great opportunity for McDonald's and Illinois' pork producers," said Springfield area McDonald's Owner and Operator Rick McGraw. "We want to do everything we can to help our fellow small business owners. They have a lot of product and we can sell some of it for them. It's a pleasure to help out when we can."

The pork crisis in Illinois and across the Midwest began in the late fall of 1998 when prices hit a low of $9 per hundredweight. A variety of factors contributed to the downward pressure on prices, including large increases in hog production, the Asian economic crisis and a reduced processing capacity.

Market prices for hogs have rebounded somewhat in recent weeks, but the costs of production are still outpacing the return for most farmers. In the long term, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is continuing to seek out new domestic and foreign markets for Illinois pork as it researches ways to increase state's processing capacity.


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