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USDA Urged to Help Sell Meat Overseas

by 5m Editor
4 June 2008, at 10:50am

Washington, D.C. - Sen. Charles Grassley, who believes that rising corn prices are being unfairly blamed for inflation, is seeking government help for livestock producers hit directly by grain prices.

According to the DesMoinesRegister, the Iowa Republican called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use two market development programs to promote sales of beef and pork overseas.

The Agriculture Department already has taken some steps to help livestock producers cope with the rising price of corn for feed, including allowing landowners to use grass on acreage idled in the Conservation Reserve Program for hay or grazing.

But Grassley said he heard concerns in Iowa last week that independent pork producers were being forced out of business. "I fear our beef and pork producers aren't quite out of the woods yet," he said.

Cattle and pork producers started losing money last month as feed costs jumped. Pork producers returned to profitability in May as prices rose, but the losses should return this summer as prices fall back, said John Lawrence, an Iowa State University economist.

Economists said consumers have not really felt the impact of the higher livestock feed costs yet because producers have depressed prices by sending more hogs and cattle to slaughter.

View the DesMoinesRegister story by clicking here.

5m Editor