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Vilsack: Ag Economy Remains Strong Due to Exports

 JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says he's confident the agricultural economy will remain strong despite an expected drop in farm income next year as corn prices lag and a pig virus reduces herds.
   Vilsack, in an interview Friday for "Iowa Press," the Iowa Public Television program, says this year's farm income is expected to be slightly under last year's record but significantly above the 10-year average.
   He says another record year of exports for beef, poultry and pork products will help keep the farm economy strong.
   Challenges include the pig virus, which can be deadly for new-born pigs. Vilsack says it is worrisome but efforts are underway to come up with a vaccine, and the department is working with farmers to minimize losses through herd management.

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