The government will buy up to $170 million worth of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish to help drought-stricken farmers, the White House said Monday as President Barack Obama brought his re-election campaign to rural voters in Iowa.

The purchase for food banks and other federal food nutrition programs is expected to help producers struggling with the high cost of feed during the worst drought in a quarter-century.

Federal law allows the Agriculture Department to buy meat and poultry products to help farmers and ranchers affected by natural disasters.