USDA to Purchase $470 Million in Excess Food from Farmers, Deliver to Needy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that it would be purchasing $470 million in excess food from farmers to deliver to those in need. The USDA’s latest program aims to combat food waste, which has become a massive problem since the coronavirus began as schools, restaurants, and even hotels have closed down to customers — leaving farmers with a surplus of food and nowhere to sell it. It also aims to help local food banks throughout the country, which have seen a surge in demand as people have lost their jobs, and schools have shuttered. Politico reported that the purchases will target meat, dairy, vegetables, and seafood — all markets that have plummeted since restaurants and food service businesses have closed. The USDA said that it would spend money on fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and seafood products from farmers and ranchers as part of the initiative, including $120 million in dairy products, $50 million in potatoes, and $30 million in chicken. “America’s farmers and ranchers have experienced a dislocated supply chain caused by the coronavirus. USDA is in the unique position to purchase these foods and deliver them to the hungry Americans who need it most,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a press release. The USDA will begin deliveries to the organizations under its Food and Nutrition Service nutrition assistance programs, including food banks, starting in July.

This is a win-win idea!  Major kudos to Sec. Sonny Perdue, and his team at USDA, for making this happen.  Excellent!!     🙂

Food Stamp Enrollment Drops in 47 States

Food stamp enrollment dropped over the past year in 47 out of 50 states, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics on nationwide food stamp enrollment. The majority of states saw declines in the number of people enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the federal government program which administers food stamps — over the past year, with 47 states reporting a decline in enrollment between September 2017 and September 2018, according to the most recent USDA data. Some states even reported double-digit drops in food stamp enrollment. Food stamp enrollment went down the most in Texas, where 32.2 percent of food stamp recipients dropped out of the welfare program. North Carolina took second place, with 18.9 percent of residents opting out of food stamps, and Alaska took third with 15.2 percent of residents discontinuing their participation in the program. Only two states reported slight increases in enrollment during this time frame. Kansas reported a 3.2 percent increase in residents participating in SNAP, and Colorado reported a 1.6 increase in food stamp usage, according to the data. The third state, Rhode Island, did not report its data to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) because it has been experiencing issues reporting data on state-level food stamp participation since February 2017. Nationwide, food stamp usage has been on a steady decline because of welfare reforms implemented at the state level over the past few years. According to the latest USDA data, 3.5 million Americans discontinued their participation in SNAP since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office. It is unclear whether enrollment in the nation’s food stamp program will continue its steady decline from 2013 onward with the relaxed provisions on welfare reform in the 2018 Farm Bill which recently passed Congress. The bill is headed to Trump’s desk, where he is expected to approve the measure even though he had urged the Senate to pass the work requirements provision and other welfare reform measures in August.

So, shame on Congress for NOT passing that provision.  But, for now..  This is more great  news in this Trump economy!!    🙂

Food Stamp Participation Reaches Lowest Level in Nearly a Decade

Participation in the nation’s food stamp program has sunk to an all-time low, reaching its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The most recent USDA data reveals that 38,845,997 Americans took part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the federal government program responsible for administering food stamps, in August 2018. The last time American participation in the food stamp program dipped this low was nine years ago, when 38,184,306 Americans received food stamps, according to the data. The most up-to-date numbers also show enrollment in food stamps has declined for ten straight months. Using the latest data from the USDA, click here to see the month-by-month breakdown of how many people canceled their SNAP benefits in fiscal year (FY) 2018:

Great news!!     🙂

Trump’s USDA Relaxes Obama-Era School Lunch Restrictions

The Trump administration announced it will ease Obama-era school lunch rules. Under a program championed by Michelle Obama, public schools instituted strict nutritional standards. Trump’s Department of Agriculture said that, effective next summer, kid-favorite chocolate milk will return to the cafeteria. Additionally, whole grain requirements and sodium limits will be relaxed. “Fox & Friends” reported that, under the now-sunsetting Obama plan, many students have elected to toss their less-appetizing meals. The eased rules take effect July 2018.

Excellent news!!

Your Orange Juice is definitely going to cost more

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release its first citrus production forecast for Florida’s 2017-2018 Thursday after Hurricane Irma swept the Sunshine State more than a month ago, wiping away a majority of its treasured crop. Initial reports indicated that 50-70% of citrus crops have been washed away due to the storm. Florida’s Department of Citrus told FOX Business that farmers across the state are reporting anywhere from 30-70% crop loss over the last few weeks. Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said that the Florida Citrus industry as a whole has taken a “heavy hit” this hurricane season. “Before the hurricane, we were expecting more than 75 million boxes of oranges on the trees this season. Sadly, that’s no longer the case. This may, temporarily, mean less Florida Orange Juice on grocery store shelves and a corresponding price increase,” she said, without elaborating on how much the price hike will be. Yet, Florida’s Department of Citrus says despite the massive setback and soon-to-be price jumps, it is confident that no shortages will happen.

USDA pledges $750M by 2018 for sage-grouse conservation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly released a report on Thursday announcing a plan to spend over $750 million on sage-grouse preservation efforts by 2018. Citing the positive impact of the $300 million already invested to help save the declining bird species in the western part of the country, the USDA unveiled it’s latest plan to use provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill to invest further in sage-grouse conservation.

WHAT?!??!?!  Seriously?!?!  Our federal government wants to spend over a HALF A BILLION of our tax dollars over the already $300 Million spent (and how EXACTLY is that being spent?  Doing what, exactly?), so a total of OVER A BILLION DOLLARS on flippin’ “sage-grouse conservation.”  If that doesn’t make you want to scream as if you’ve gone insane, then you need to read that again.  How do you spend a BILLION dollars conserving a bird?  Just say, “hey.. you can only have so many (hunting) tags this season for this grouse.”  There.  Done.  Conserved.  FREE!!!!   Congress needs to put the halt on this breathtaking, mind-boggling, waste of taxpayer dollars NOW!  No wonder we’re over $18 TRILLION in debt!!  Unreal..