November 21, 2012 - Common Dreams
This Is what happens when profits trump feeding the world and the USDA is up to it's neck in complicity with the big corporate agricultural business, biotech industry to ensure they maintain their quarterly bottom-line. Why is taxpayer money having to pay top market prices for food bank donations? Thank the food speculation commoditiy markets, taxpayer subsidies to multi-million dollar industrial agriculture and crop insurance paid by your tax dollars to cover losses of industrial agriculture. One would think they would donate food, able to write it off at market value I suppose. A really sick game that needs to be exposed.
This summer's crop-damaging weather in the U.S. farm belt has driven up costs for everything from grain to beef. That means higher prices at the grocery store, but it also means the U.S. government has less need to buy key staples like meat, peanut butter, rice and canned fruits and vegetables to support agricultural prices and remove surpluses.
Most of the products from those government purchases are sent to US food banks, which then distribute them to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters that are a lifeline for people who struggle with hunger - including low-income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Government donations—known as bonus commodities—fell by more than half to $352.5 million this fiscal year from $723.7 million three years earlier, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
“Commodities now represent less than 20 percent of our total food volume, a decline of some 150 million pounds. That’s a significant loss of food,” said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for the consortium of the country's food banks, Feeding America... http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/11/21-5