As I noted last week, livestock producers are suffering due to a corn shortage, thanks to the drought hitting the Midwest this summer.

That’s why livestock producers are asking EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to relax the ethanol targets, requiring over 13.3 billion gallons of biofuel be produced in 2012. If less corn goes to ethanol production, more can be used for food and livestock production.

But President Obama has something different in mind. According to Bloomberg News, Obama will announce $170 million in government meat purchases while campaigning in Iowa.

The buys of as much as $100 million of pork, $50 million of chicken, and $10 million each of lamb and catfish come on top of $30 million in assistance to farmers and ranchers struggling with the worst combination of heat and dryness since the 1950s, the administration said. Obama is also directing the Defense Department to speed up purchases and freeze the meat for later use.