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Government Buys Meat From Drought-Stricken Farmers

The drought has dried up pastures and devastated grain crops, increasing demand and a lowering supply of livestock feed.

A large pile of freshly-butchered red meat.

Photo: borkazoid (Flickr)

The buy-out will help struggling livestock farmers to thin their herds, lowering feed costs and curbing the chances of a spike in meat prices for consumers.

Pigs Fly (Off The Shelves)

On August 13, President Obama announced the USDA would purchase $170 million worth of meat to help livestock farmers struck by this summer’s drought.

The large buy-outs of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish will give farmers an additional boost on top of $30 million in assistance announced last week.

The purchased meat will go to food banks and other federal nutrition programs.

The Defense Department is also looking for ways to encourage its vendors to speed up their purchasing of meat. Purchasing meat at low prices now will benefit both taxpayers and struggling agricultural economies. The meat will be frozen for later use.

No Grass, No Grain, No Green

Livestock farmers throughout the drought-stricken Midwest have been looking to thin their herds following the worst combination of drought and heat that the region has seen since the 1950s.

Dried-up pastures have increased farmers’ need to pay corn and grain-based feeds.

To make matters worse, the drought has devastated the national corn crop, driving up feed prices.

The government purchase will enable farmers to thin their herds without wasting the meat, while at the same time giving them the financial support they need to feed the rest of their animals.

Read More:

  • USDA Buys Meat To Help Drought-Stricken Farmers (NPR)
  • Obama Announces Meat Purchase To Help Farmers Through Drought (Businessweek)
Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

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