Thursday, April 14, 2011

Food Shortages in America?


It’s time to do something about rising food prices. As governments around the world move to secure grain supplies, the United States is pursuing policies that take more farmland out of production.

The man-made drought in California is one example. But there are others. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a system that pays farmers not to farm, is another. Originally intended to address serious problems with soil erosion and environmental degradation, the CRP has grown to consume more than 30 million acres of American farmland. No crops can be grown on this ground.

Under normal circumstances, the United States may be able to afford the luxury of idling farmland that could otherwise be producing food. But we are not facing normal circumstances. In fact, according to USDA and other agencies, we are facing the real possibility of grain shortages. This means higher food costs and serious economic damage.

For this reason, I and others are urging the President to allow willing farmers with arable land to exit from the CRP. See the letter I sent to President Obama, with the support of 25 House colleagues here.