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Hog Prices Rise On Word That Feds Will Buy Pork In Bid To Help Farmers

President Obama not coincidentally chose Iowa today as the backdrop for his announcement that the federal government is buying $170 million worth of pork, chicken, lamb and catfish to help producers who've been hit hard by drought-related increases in feed costs and by soft prices because of overproduction.

If shoring up prices was one of the goals, it's worked so far for hog farmers. Word that $100 million of the $170 million will be spent on pork has driven hog prices up today, the Des Moines Register writes.

Before today, hog prices had been down "by about 15 percent since the end of 2011 as record production of hogs has threatened to oversupply the market," the Register adds. "Iowa, the nation's largest hog producing state, has reported inventories of hogs at a record 20 million since late 2011, in large measure because of improved productivity of sows who now average ten pigs or more per litter."

Under the program announced this morning, the federal government will also buy $50 million worth of chicken, and $10 million each of lamb and catfish. The products will go "food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks," according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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