WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Agriculture Department will buy up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish to help drought-stricken farmers and ranchers.
USDA Secretary Tim Vilsack says the purchase will help food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.
Vilsack says, "These purchases will assist pork, catfish, chicken and lamb producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought. The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs."
The announcement comes as President Barack Obama campaigns in Iowa, where he criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for blocking a farm bill that could help farmers cope with the drought.
Obama has pledged a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.
For the latest information regarding the USDA's drought response and assistance, click here.