food security

Inflation means longer lines at food banks

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.

Export bans worsen global food crisis, says research group

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.

‘Nobel Prize of Agriculture’ awarded to NASA climate scientist

NASA climatologist Cynthia Rosenzweig, one of the first scientists to document the impact of climate change on food production, is this year’s winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize, said the Food Prize foundation on Thursday. “Dr. Rosenzweig has brought powerful computational tools into practical application in agriculture and food systems,” said foundation president Barbara Stinson during an announcement ceremony at the State Department.

Vegetable oil prices could remain high into 2023

The Russian invasion of Ukraine focused world attention on wheat prices and disruptions of supplies to poor countries that rely on imported grain. Now analysts at the IFPRI think tank say there is “another important emerging food security issue: the war’s impact on vegetable oils.”

FAO: Ukraine farm output to shrink by one-third

One-third of Ukraine's crops and agricultural land may not be harvested or cultivated this year because of the Russian invasion, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Tuesday. It asked for donations of $115.4 million, more than double its initial request, to support Ukrainian agriculture.

High global wheat prices through 2023 — IFPRI analysts

There are no overnight replacements for Ukraine and Russia in global wheat production, said five IFPRI analysts on Monday. "Even under the most optimistic assumptions, global wheat prices will remain high throughout 2022 and the trend is likely to persist through 2023, given limits on expanding production."

Increase U.S. food production in response to war in Ukraine, says key senator

The Biden administration should encourage larger domestic food production to blunt the disruptions in global supplies created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, said the Republican leader of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. Arkansas Sen. John Boozman said the land-idling Conservation Reserve, if needed, could provide millions of acres of cropland and pasture "to address both inflation and food security concerns."

Report finds Trump’s food box suffered from price gouging, poor-quality

The Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway program was the Trump administration's answer to hunger during the pandemic but it undermined its goal by mismanagement and abuse of the $5.5 billion program, said a report released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Wednesday. The panel chairman, Democrat James Clyburn, suggested the USDA should pursue reimbursement, where appropriate, of misspent money.

WIC program saw widespread declines during the pandemic

Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) saw widespread declines during the pandemic, continuing a trend that took hold over the past decade due to significant enrollment hurdles. The declines contrasted with the sharp rise in demand for programs like SNAP and Medicaid. (No paywall)

Vilsack aims for ‘transformational change’ in strengthening U.S. food system

The Biden administration earmarked $4 billion on Tuesday to strengthen the U.S. food system, including an expansion of local and regional food processing capacity. Aiming to increase competition, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he hoped to see "new entries" in the highly concentrated processing sector.

SNAP time limits didn’t boost employment — study

The 90-day limit on food stamps for able-bodied adults without children, enacted as part of welfare reform in 1996, failed to move people into jobs or increase their incomes after the Great Recession, said a USDA study released on Tuesday. "The findings should prove relevant as the economy recovers and states begin to re-introduce the time limit" after the pandemic, said the researchers who carried out the study.

USDA announces $330 million in pandemic assistance

Textile mills and specialty crops will get three-fourths of the $330 million announced by the USDA on Tuesday in a broad-ranging program to help producers and the food supply chain recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic. In addition, the package earmarked $75 million in grants to help low-income Americans buy fruits and vegetables.

SNAP and P-EBT surged to 12 percent of grocery spending during pandemic

Two months into the pandemic, roughly $1 in $8 spent on groceries in the United States came from the federal food assistance programs, SNAP and the newly created Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), compared to $1 of every $14 beforehand, said the USDA on Tuesday.

USDA asks, is it time for Food Box 2.0?

State agriculture officials called for continuation of USDA's $5.5 billion food box give-away program, now under review by the Biden administration. "With some enhancements, we can extraordinarily expand the benefits of the program by allowing more producers to contribute and increasing the amount of food we can share with families in need," said Barb Glenn, chief executive of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

Tackle hunger and diet quality at the same time, says Vilsack

U.S. anti-hunger programs should address the twin challenges of nutrition — supplying enough food and encouraging diets built around healthy food — at the same time after decades of focusing on a lack of food for poor Americans, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

Vilsack brings to-do list as he starts new stint as agriculture secretary

Boosted by a landslide confirmation vote in the Senate, Tom Vilsack will begin his second stint as agriculture secretary on Wednesday facing problems from the pandemic and climate change to rising hunger rates in America. His own list of goals is much longer and each item on it is a blockbuster.

‘Substantial investments’ needed in public nutrition, says senator

Congress can reduce hunger during the pandemic by extending the 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits and providing an additional $3 billion for WIC, as suggested by President Biden, said Sen. Bob Casey to the Consumer Federation of America on Tuesday. "We have to stay on that path where we're focused on substantial investments" in public nutrition.

More than 1 million SNAP households shop online

The USDA is trying to expand online grocery shopping for SNAP recipients by adding local and regional grocers to the program, said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Brandon Lipps. The USDA said over 1 million SNAP households shopped online in September, out of more than 22 million households participating in the program.

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