Short on meat, food bank turns to lentil farmers

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- The food bank in Eugene says it's facing a shortage of meat protein brought on by rising Asian demand and domestic animal production squeezed by high feed costs.

The solution: local lentils. Food For Lane County says it has contracted with five farmers to enlarge the stock of high-protein lentils and barley soup mix it developed this year.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/Hszcwn ) demand is up 46 percent from pre-recession levels and the agency is expecting to distribute a record breaking 8 million pounds of food the fiscal year ending in June.

The Oregon Food Bank Network, which is facing the same protein challenges, heard about the project and placed a whopping order: 240,000 pounds of lentil and barley mix. It's enough to fill three semi-truck trailers full.