Local food is one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture – with direct consumer sales doubling in the past decade. Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts commended producers who market their crops locally – pointing out that increasing demand for local food helps bring new opportunities for rural areas…
“I must caution the belief that locally grown and purchased food is inherently better, safer, more environmentally sustainable than food produced elsewhere in our country can pit one farmer against another, town against town and state against state.”
On the nutrition front – President Obama has requested 70-billion dollars in fiscal 2013 to fund food benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – or SNAP – formerly known as food stamps. Roberts complained that annual SNAP errors – in the form of retailer trafficking and improper benefit payments – total 3.4-billion dollars a year – an amount equal to more than two-thirds of annual spending on commodity support programs…
“We should be at least as motivated to eliminate fraud waste abuse loop holes and find efficiencies in SNAP, as others are motivated to eliminate the commodity safety net programs.”
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack testified many Americans have an incomplete picture of who actually receives SNAP benefits and who is benefiting from them. He says children are nearly half of all SNAP beneficiaries and the elderly make up nearly eight-percent.
Consumer Website gaining in Popularity
A government Website is giving people a way to "vent" when something isn't working the way it should. Inez Tennenbaum heads up the consumer product safety commission.
“We have had more than 6500 incident reports that the CPSC staff has reviewed, sent to the manufacturer for review and posted on saferproducts.gov”
Lucas Critical of President’s Energy Policy
In his weekly radio address, House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas called on President Obama to join House Republicans in moving forward with an all-of-the-above energy plan that reduces costs for America's farmers and ranchers, creates jobs, and improves our energy security. Lucas noted, – the present trend of higher gas prices hits America’s farmers extra hard and the only solution to the problem is an all-of-the-above energy policy that responsibly develops all our domestic forms of energy.
Supply & Demand Reports to Include Additional Data
Gerry Bange, USDA Outlook Board Chairman, explains that today’s Supply and Demand report will have new forecasts for corn use for ethanol production:
“In the case of corn we have to look closely at what’s happening on the ethanol front. It’s something that we need to review every month, in fact the real truth is that we review it daily. We watch what is going on in regard to production, what the various margins are and what we think the impact will be on the corn utilization outlook. There are a lot of moving parts to the equation.”
Today’s Farm Fact:
Americans spend just 9.5% of their income on food—less than any other country.