WASHINGTON—Prices that consumers pay for poultry and other meats are rising, and could go higher still, as the U.S. government prepares to step in and buy excess chicken from farmers.

The meat industry in America has an ace card that few outside the farming and livestock sector can count on when profits are down: the government’s willingness to swoop in and buy up surpluses during a glut. The government doesn’t buy up candy, shoes, clocks, calculators or microwave ovens if manufacturers overshoot demand, but it will step in to help meat producers clear out storage facilities.

So the excess inventory arises as a result of fewer chickens being bought. Cronyism, hello? Isn’t it up to the farmers to dispose safely of excess inventory of chickens? Here.

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