The new farm bill should allow the purchase of hot foods with food stamps, said a letter signed by one-fifth of U.S. senators and representatives. The prohibition on hot food, in place since SNAP was created, "is no longer an accurate reflection of American families' dietary or lifestyle needs," said the lawmakers in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees.
Although two senators identified the farm bill as a potential way to restrict foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow said on Wednesday that the annual defense authorization act seemed a better bet. Senators added language to the defense bill in July to prohibit China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural companies.
The U.S. rice industry sharply criticized India, the world's largest rice exporter, for cutting off three-quarters of its overseas shipments. "This is another example of India playing games with global food security," said Bobby Hanks, a Louisiana rice miller and a USA Rice Federation official on Monday.
The United States would block foreign adversaries from snatching up agricultural land by putting a 60-percent excise tax on purchases by people and companies from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela under a bill sponsored by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee.
In a comprehensive assessment of the potential risks and benefits of expanding seaweed farming, the United Nations Environment Programme called this week for “cautious optimism” and a lot more scientific research. Seaweed aquaculture is growing quickly amid enthusiasm about macroalgae’s potential to do everything from mitigating climate change to feeding the world to replacing petroleum-based fuels and plastics. But the potential risks to the environment and to vulnerable communities are still poorly understood, the report found. (No paywall)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday touted new investments and partnerships to address climate change and food security through agricultural innovation. Speaking at the opening of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Summit, he said the initiative has secured more than $13 billion in public and private investments for climate-smart agriculture, reflecting what he called a “global appetite to accelerate innovation.” (No paywall)
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had a devastating impact on global food security, said Group of 7 agriculture ministers on Sunday in a communique that called for expansion of Ukrainian grain shipments via a the Black Sea Grain corridor that is exempt from attack.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack bristled at the “notion of picking on SNAP” when millions of Americans are locked into low-wage jobs and need help buying food. “We never have that conversation,” he said on Thursday. Cuts to food stamps have become a frequent suggestion by conservative Republicans in Congress in debates over the farm bill or raising the debt ceiling.
Fears of persistently high world food prices, sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and disruption of global supply chains, have subsided but food affordability remains a challenge at the household and macro-economic levels, said three analysts on Tuesday. “These risks will remain high” in …
An estimated 2.2 million people in America are water-insecure, and that's almost certainly a huge undercount, explains Lela Nargi in FERN's latest story. Yet the issue "is not even on most public health professionals’ radar, although recent water disasters in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi, are starting to change that."
The Agriculture Department proposed an update to the WIC program on Thursday that would let participants buy three, or even four, times as many fruits and vegetables and would broaden the range of foods available through the program to reflect the diversity of the American diet. The expansion of fruit and vegetable allowances would increase WIC spending by 14 percent and require Congress to appropriate additional money to the $6 billion-a-year program.
Ukrainian farmers and food-importing nations in the Middle East and North Africa will feel the pain of the Russian interruption of grain exports through the Black Sea corridor, said the IFPRI think tank on Monday. The importer nations face their highest need for grain in the months ahead with supplies in doubt and commodity prices jolted higher.
With migration at a high level worldwide, rural areas feel the greatest burden related to forced displacement, whether in loss of population or influx of newcomers, said the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday. Food security, along with climate change and armed conflict, is a main driver of human migration.
President Biden's goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related disease by 2030 already is backed by $8 billion in commitments from the private sector, medical groups, schools and charities, said senior administration officials. Biden was to deliver "a call to action to all Americans" on Wednesday at the first White House hunger conference in half a century.
The Justice Department on Thursday accused 47 people of looting $250 million from the federal child nutrition program by fraudulently claiming to feed thousands of poor children daily in Minnesota during the pandemic. Instead, they allegedly spent the money on cars, houses, jewelry, travel and real estate the United States, Kenya and Turkey in what Attorney General Merrick Garland said was "the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme" yet.
President Biden directed the Treasury-led committee that scrutinizes foreign investment in America to consider the national security impact any deals would have on U.S. technological leadership, including biotechnology and “elements of the agricultural industrial base that have implications for food security.” The executive order was issued amid rising concerns about Chinese purchases of U.S. land and companies.
More and more people were going hungry or lacking reliable access to food even before Covid-19 hit in 2020, and "the main effect of the pandemic was to sharply increase the deteriorating trend in food security" in low- and middle-income nations, said an Iowa think tank. "Most of the increase in the number of food-insecure people from Covid-19 in 2020 was driven by large Asian countries, particularly India, Bangladesh and Pakistan."
Americans are turning to food banks for help in the face of rising food, fuel, child care and housing costs, the chief executive of the Atlanta Community Food Bank told lawmakers on Tuesday. "Our distribution volumes are rising again" and now match the early months of the pandemic, when hunger was on the rise, said Kyle Waide, the chief executive.
Despite the experience of food price spikes a decade ago, nations are compounding the disruptions of warfare in the Black Sea region by hoarding their domestic supplies, said the global research group CGIAR.