President Barack Obama announced an emergency purchase of up to 170 million dollars of meat and fish on Monday on a campaign trip to drought-hit Iowa, and accused Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of blocking disaster aid to farmers.
Obama named the Wisconsin congressman, the presumptive Republican nominee for vice president, as one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way of a farm bill that includes the aid.
So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities, Obama told a political rally in Council Bluffs, on the western edge of Iowa.
Swing states, including Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado, could hold the key to Obama's White House re-election bid.
As the House Budget Committee chairman, Ryan has demanded large cuts in farm bill spending, including food stamps for the poor. He also campaigned in Iowa on Monday, two days after being chosen to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate for the Nov. 6 election.
The farm bill is mired in the House of Representatives, where Tea Party-influenced Republicans seek deeper cuts and Democrats balk at the biggest food stamp cuts since the 1990s.
Ryan voted for a separate livestock disaster aid bill that passed the House this month. But the Senate failed to take it up before Congress left on a five-week recess.
A Romney campaign spokesman said no one will work harder to defend farmers and ranchers than the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Obama has focused on the farm bill three times in the past week as a way to blame Republicans for inaction in Washington.
US farmers are watching crops wither in the fields under searing heat as concern mounts that livestock producers cannot afford the soaring cost of corn, a staple for feed.
Corn prices briefly hit a record on Friday when the US Agriculture Department estimated the corn crop will be down 13% from last year, with the lowest yields since 1995.