The Nixon administration proposed cutting commodity purchases as a precursor to cutting other farm programs a year later. The Bush Administration may be attempting to do the same.
CongressDaily reports that the Administration's budget plan to eliminate funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food program could get rid of one outlet for farmers' excess production.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, speaking at Monday's National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference Washington D.C., says because the program is not used in all 50 states and other nutrition programs exist, the budget calls for a transition for those individuals to other programs. The transition will result in deficit reduction measures, Johanns says.
The FY06 appropriation for CSFP is $111.4 million and the USDA has estimated the total FY06 outlay will be $108 million.
CSFP distributes food packages to 420,000 mothers, children and the elderly in 32 states. Most of the food distributed comes from government purchases of low, price surplus commodities.
CongressDaily reports that, "Jean Jones, the senior policy and research counsel for America's Second Harvest, a network of food banks, and a former Congressional Research Service official, defended the supplemental commodities program as 'an efficient, low-cost weapon in the nation's battle against hunger and poor nutrition.'
"When the government buys commodities in surplus, the Agriculture Department pays $15 for the contents of a food package that would cost low-income individuals $50 in a store, she said. Jones said dairy, peanut and fruit and vegetable producers should be particularly concerned because the food packages contain large amounts of those commodities," CongressDaily reports.