Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) is spending part of the congressional holiday recess down on the farm--not vacationing, but trying to learn about farmers' problems at first hand and to gather new ideas on how to fight world hunger.
Kennedy, who on Thursday took himself out of contention for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, on Friday began a tour with his sons, Edward Jr. and Patrick. They flew to Ottumwa, Iowa, and were driven to Memphis, a community of about 2,000 people near the Iowa border.
Kennedy and his sons spent the night at the 615-acre farm of Bill and Donna Shoop, and the senator rose before dawn on Saturday for a look at the Shoops' hog-raising operation.
Later, he stopped at the farm of Gary Anson for a kitchen-table discussion of the government's farm policies.
"I'm raising hogs out here, doing it the way our government wants us to. I'd like to see you do something," Anson told the senator. "We're at the bottom of the ladder. We're just hanging on."
During a brief visit to another farm, Sen. Kennedy, clad in a ski jacket, corduroy trousers and work boots, posed for pictures with two mules named Mork and Mindy.