As I mentioned in my article about the 2010 Food Crisis, reading agricultural news stories in the US is a lot like having a lobotomy. On one hand you have the mainstream media reporting about record breaking production and yields, on the other you have agricultural disaster and ruin.
PURE PROPAGANDA: U.S. as an island of supply
The High Plains Journal reports that the U.S. is an island of supply for world grain demand.
The U.S. is an island of supply for world grain demand
August 16, 2010
U.S. grain farmers are in the middle of a unique situation with record crop production and record crop demand.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service Aug. 12 crop report was up across the board for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Corn production was up two percent, soybeans up two percent, and all wheat up two percent.
The big news was in the wheat market and the situation in Russia where the worst drought in 130 years has decimated their spring wheat crop.
"The Former Soviet Union numbers today were breathtaking," said Jerry Gidel, North American Risk Management Services, speaking from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. "We have not seen that kind of adjustment from USDA in quite some time."
USDA dropped the projected Russian wheat crop by 8 million metric tons, a record drop from July to August crop reports. The Ukraine crop was downgraded by 3 million tons.
"This was a very interesting report that really shows the U.S. as an island of supply," said Dan Basse, AgResource Company, also speaking from a press conference at the CME.
"We have a record large corn yield, record large soybean yield and they will be needed," Basse said. "At the same time USDA raised the U.S. spring wheat yield and gave us an additional 48 million bushels bumping up that crop."
The Delta Farm Press reports about record corn and soy crops.
Record corn, soy crops: USDA
Aug 12, 2010 9:14 AM, By Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff
Corn production is forecast at a record high 13.4 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the previous record set in 2009. Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.43 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last year.
USDA is projecting record production the U.S. corn and soybean crops, with several states reporting record highs for yield.
In its Aug. 12 Crop Production report, USDA also projected a U.S. cotton crop of 18.5 million bales, based on a record crop developing in Texas.
Corn production is forecast at a record high 13.4 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the previous record set in 2009. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, yields are expected to average a record high 165 bushels per acre, up a fraction of a bushel from last year' s record of 164.7 bushels.
Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.43 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last year. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 44 bushels per acre, unchanged from last year' s record high yield. …
Cotton production is forecast at 18.5 million bales, up 52 percent from last year' s 12.2 million bales. Yield is expected to average 837 pounds per harvested acre, up 60 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 18 million bales, 53 percent above 2009. …
U.S. rice production is projected 245.88 million hundredweight, an 11 percent increase over last season. Average yields are projected at 7,039 pounds per acre. Yields are projected higher than last year for all the Mid-South states, while lower yields are projected for Texas and California.
Peanut production is estimated at 4.04 billion pounds, a 9 percent increase over last season. Yields are projected to average 3,204 pounds per acre on 1.26 million acres.
Wheat production, at 2.26 billion bushels, is up 2 percent from the July forecast and up 2 percent from 2009. Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.52 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month and up slightly from 2009.
Jump In Estimate Soybean Production
Table below shows USDA' s huge jump in estimate soybean production between July and August.
Table 07: Soybeans: World Supply and Distribution
Thousand Metric Tons
Date Created 8/12/2010 11:50:38 AM
Business Week reports that corn and soybean crops may miss forecasts.
Corn, Soy Crops May Miss Forecasts After Too Much Heat, Rain
August 16, 2010, 12:54 PM EDT
By Jeff Wilson
Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. corn and soybean crops, the world' s largest, may be smaller than the government estimated because of unusual weather across the Midwest, said Mark Schultz at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis.
In Iowa, the biggest U.S. corn- and soybean-producing state, June was the wettest on record, July was the fifth- wettest, and the first 13 days of August had more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in some areas, or four times normal, the Iowa State Climatologist said. Parts of the growing region had the second-hottest start to August since 1960, after a month of mostly dry weather, T-Storm Weather LLC said.
“The crops are smaller because of the flooding in the northern Midwest, and the hot, dry weather across the south” that reduced ear size and soybean pods, said Schultz said from Minneapolis on Aug. 13. “The extreme weather caused more variable crops and not record yields.”
Corn futures have jumped 19 percent since the end of May, touching a 13-month high on Aug. 5, and soybeans rallied 11 percent, even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast the biggest harvests ever.
Reduced Yield Potential
Corn plants that farmers will begin harvesting next month are maturing 25 percent faster than the five-year average, and the rate of pod development by soybeans is 4 percentage points above normal, USDA data show. Rapid development reduces yield potential, Schultz said.
Midwest temperatures have averaged more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit (10.8 degrees Celsius) above normal in the past 30 days, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
That hot weather probably prevented corn plants from turning sugars into kernel starch and damaged pod filling for soybeans, said Terry Jones, who farms more than 6,000 acres near Williamsburg, Iowa, and is vice president of Russell Consulting Group in Panora, Iowa.
The average number of ears in the 10 largest producing states was the second highest behind the record plant populations in 2009, USDA said Aug. 12. The government' s implied average weight for corn ears is too high, and flooding has stunted late development and increased plant diseases in both corn and soybean crops, Jones aid.
“The ear length has tipped back,” reducing the number of kernels on each cob, Jones said. “The biggest weather problems are centered in the biggest producing states,” reducing the chances that farmers will get record yields for a second straight year, Jones said.
[It is really annoying to hear about horrendous crop losses and record harvests in the same article.]
The USDA predicted a corn crop of 13.365 billion bushels, based partly on surveys of farmers in July and August and field observations. That' s up 1.9 percent from last year' s record harvest of 13.11 billion, when cool temperatures boosted yields. Corn yields will rise to 165 bushels an acre from 164.7 bushels last year, the department said Aug. 12.
Production of soybeans, the second-largest U.S. crop after corn, will reach a record 3.43 billion bushels, up 2 percent last year, the USDA said. A record 77.7 million acres was planted this year. The USDA said yields will be 44 bushels an acre, the highest-ever August prediction by the government and the same as last year' s record.
The U.S. corn crop was valued at $48.6 billion in 2009, followed by soybeans at $31.8 billion, government figures show. The U.S. is the world' s biggest exporter of both crops.
Whig.com reports that Illinois wheat harvest one of smallest in state's history.
Illinois wheat harvest one of smallest in state's history
Published: 8/13/2010 Updated: 8/13/2010
By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Russia's worst drought in a century has pushed U.S. wheat prices to a two-year high, but Illinois farmers produced one of the smallest wheat crops in history.
"It was probably the worst I've ever seen," said Mike Roegge, crop systems educator in the University of Illinois Extension Adams/Brown Unit.
Wet weather last fall triggered problems that lasted throughout the growing season. With delays in harvesting corn and soybeans, "very few acres got planted," Roegge said. "When you seed late, you don't get a lot of tillering in the fall. If there's not a lot of tillering, there's not a lot of heads for yield."
Sunny spring conditions could have spurred more tillering, but instead, it rained and rained. The rain spurred disease in what heads were on the crop which decreased potential yield, lowered test weights and cost farmers at the elevator.
"It wasn't pretty for guys who had wheat," said Quincy farmer Kent Deege, who hasn't planted wheat in at least six years.
Wheat acreage statewide fell to 350,000 acres this year down from 850,000 in 2009 because of the harvest delays, but many Illinois farmers already bypass wheat in the crop rotation.
[AGAIN, It is really annoying to hear about horrendous crop losses and record harvests in the same article.]
Sanow expects the United States, which will produce about the same amount of wheat it did last year on fewer acres, and countries such as Argentina to make up for the drop in exports from Russia on the world market. "There's plenty of wheat. We can make up for the losses from Russia," he said.
But U.S. bread prices and other wheat-related products could still see a price increase in the near future. "It just depends on how long the price increases (on wheat) continue," Sanow said.
Kansas City reports that despite heat, record kansas corn crop likely.
Despite heat, record Kansas corn crop likely
The Associated Press
TURON, Kan. For some Kansas farmers, this year's fall harvest will be either feast or famine.
Sure, Kansas is looking to become a corn state, with farmers expected to harvest the biggest corn crop ever with 692.2 million bushels, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. Moreover, some of the state's elevators could bin more corn than the state's staple crop of wheat this year.
The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also reported last week that fall crop conditions continue to decline because of the heat and lack of moisture. The corn crop, 15 percent ahead of the five-year average, is rated as 9 percent poor, 28 percent fair and 63 percent good to excellent by the KASS. About 60 percent of the soybeans and milo are estimated at good to excellent.
"There are some areas where the corn is burning up and the grain sorghum is showing signs of intense heat stress," said Kent Martin, a southwest Kansas agronomist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "What hurt us the worst with a lot of these crops, when we were pollinating a lot of these crops it was in the 100-degree weather."
The heat stress could mean lower test weights, he said.
While some corn and grain sorghum crops are hanging on, Martin noted soybeans are suffering.
Tom Giessel, who farms in Pawnee County, said the last decent rain came Fourth of July weekend when his fields received 1.40 inch. A sporadic rain left about a half inch on some fields mid-July.
"But we're going a month now without rain combined with 100-degree temperatures and scalding winds," he said.
The 2010 Kansas wheat crop is pegged at 369 million bushels. Farmers are expected to reap a record 692.2 million bushels of corn, which would surpass last year's record crop of 598.3 million bushels, according to KASS.
Agriculturecom reports about corn inventories shrinking.
Corn inventories shrinking
Dow Jones Newswires 08/17/2010 @ 5:20pm
DJ US Cash Grain Review: Corn Inventories Shrinking
Gary Wulf - DJ - 1 hr 2 mins ago
CHICAGO (Dow Jones)-- Commercial inventories of cash corn are shrinking as bullish farmers forestall old-crop sales in the midst of a steady price rally that has already driven the value of the nation's most important feed grain to 8-month highs.
The USDA said stockpiles of cash corn at surveyed grain elevators, terminals, ports and warehouses dropped more than 6% during the past week, standing in sharp contrast to expanding supplies of wheat, soybeans and sorghum.
Cash corn basis has climbed at the U.S. Gulf grain market this week, commensurate with the drawdown in pipeline supplies.
Although official USDA figures show CIF bids for immediate deliveries of corn to New Orleans area ports only 3-5 cents a bushel higher on the week, premiums jumped up to 12 cents per bushel at isolated ports, to premiums of as much as 58 cents over September CBOT corn futures Tuesday. Barge basis bids have also risen by 2 cents for soybeans and 5 cents for grain sorghum, but have declined by 5 cents for soft red winter wheat on the week.
Cash contracts of U.S. corn and soybean futures settled 7 1/2 and 11 1/2 cents higher, respectively, on Tuesday, although spot wheat futures were off almost 5-13 cents.
Doane Agricultural Services pointed out that USDA crop condition reports published this week in both Iowa and Illinois mentioned observations of sudden death syndrome disease in local soybeans.
"Agronomists at Iowa State [University] are noting that they are finding the prevalence [of the fungus] to be the first or second most, since it was first identified in 1994," said the service. "That and other diseases may expand rapidly under the current weather conditions, resulting in some disappointment in yields versus earlier expectations. This news is getting more market attention, and likely contributed to gains today."
The disease routinely reduces yields in severely affected fields by 10 to 30 bushels an acre.
The Delta Farm Press reports about soybeans pressed by heat and worms.
Soybeans pressed by heat, worms
Aug 10, 2010 2:10 PM, By David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff
Some Arkansas soybean fields are experiencing a bollworm outbreak. Some growers have had to spray twice and are likely going to have to treat a third.
Into the second week of August, there are two big things facing Arkansas' soybean farmers.
“First, is the high heat,” says Jeremy Ross, Arkansas Extension soybean specialist. “Usually, 86 degrees is optimum for soybeans. We' ve been well above that for several weeks — 20 degrees in some places.
“Even though a lot of our acreage is irrigated, it' s still susceptible to heat stress. With irrigation, you' re able to eliminate a bit of that stress but it' s still evident, especially once temperatures are over 100 degrees. I' ve had calls from farmers worrying about blooms and smaller pods being shed.
“Second, fields are experiencing a bollworm outbreak. Some growers have had to spray twice and are likely going to have to treat a third. The bollworms have been very bad.”
What about yield outlook?
“I got a report on some beans already harvested a few days ago out of Chicot County. That was a dryland field, an early Group 4, that made around 35 or 40 bushels. [USDA predicts average yields of 44 bushels]
“Balance that out with a couple of calls I got a week ago from producers wondering about the best way to plant so late. If they go through with it, it' ll be November before those beans will even be close to done. That means harvest will be spread out over several months.
“It would be so beneficial if we could just get some rain and break this cycle of 95-plus degree days.”
Benzinga reports about a bull market no one is talking about.
A Bull Market No One is Talking About?
Created 08/09/2010 - 09:55
With Wheat futures grabbing all the headlines this summer, as the severe drought in eastern Europe and Russia have severely lowered the potential output from this year's Wheat harvest, another member of the grains complex, Soybeans, is also participating in a bull market run. New-crop November Soybeans are hovering near their highest levels of the year, somewhat on the back of Wheat's rapid climb, but also due to their own bullish fundamentals. Well above normal temperatures in the southern sections of the Soybean growing regions of the U.S. have arrived during the key pod setting stage. Too much heat during this stage can ultimately affect yields and force traders to lower production estimates. Even a slight decline in average yields could greatly affect the upcoming season's carryout totals, which is especially important given the current tight old crop Soybean inventories in the U.S. Soybean exports have remained solid, with a weaker Dollar and strong Chinese demand keeping bean exporters busy. Increases in demand for soy products such as meal and oil could also lend support to Soybean prices, with production issues for the oil seed crop in Eastern Europe and Canada potentially increasing U.S. bean oil exports. Soybean meal futures have been trading in a backwardation term structure, where nearby futures are trading at a premium to the more deferred futures all the way out to the May 2011 contract, which is viewed as a bullish signal to many long-time grain traders who follow the adage "to never sell short a market that moves into a backwardation". …
Newagtalk.com provides pictures of just how bad things look.
Bottom of Form
Freind of mine who farms, also has crop dusting license has been telling me we gotta go up so I can see just how bad things look. 07,08 and 09 seia recieved around 150% normal precip and sound N management gave us above trend corn yields. Thats not gonna be the case this year. Since May 1st I've recorded 37.1" of rain, 14.1" in June alone which is really what did us in. Most of the N applied before July 1 was gone. Fields that looked great June 1st turned yellow in July and is now canniblizing sp? itself. I am not a "glass is half empty" kind a guy but I would estimate 90% of corn fields in seia are showing serious N defficiancy and will major dissapoint at harvest. Play around tilting your screen for best results.
pics 6&7 tipical not the exeption like most years
9 lots of these in seia
10 yes this 40 was planted although we saw some PP fields
11 severe N def
12 wettness severe enough to kill the corn
13 more N def
14 not even pattern tile helped
15 very tipical of whats out there
17 yellow sb strips- roundup "flash" from sprayer overlap
18 1 round too many with that tank of pre-plant Nh3
20 Skunk river between Brighton and Coppock
21 SDS is gonna take its toll in seia this year
Pakistan's monsoon floods one of the worst natural humanitarian disasters in modern history
The Vancouver Sun reports that floods threaten fabric of the Pakistan state.
Floods threaten fabric of the Pakistan state
As 14 million people lose their homes and disease lurks, anger grows toward a government ill-equipped to handle crisis
By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun August 11, 2010
As local and international agencies struggle to comprehend the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis caused by Pakistan's monsoon floods, there is as much concern for the potentially explosive political effects in the strife-rived country at the hub of a volatile part of the world.
At least 14 million of the country's 170 million people have been made homeless and 1,500 killed as flood waters fuelled by torrential monsoon rains have raged down river valleys, overwhelmed dikes, destroyed much of the agricultural heartland and left huge swaths of the country submerged in foul and murky water.
The United Nations says it is one of the worst natural humanitarian disasters in modern history, eclipsing the 2004 Asian tsunami and the recent Haiti earthquake put together.
And it seems there is more to come.
While the misery, lack of food, water and shelter and the impending threats of starvation and disease grow more pressing by the hour for the millions struggling to survive the flood waters, forecasts are for more heavy rain, especially in northwestern Pakistan from where it will cascade down into the central and southern plains.
2010 Food Crisis
Glgroup.com asks that How Long Will Food Prices Rise - And How High?
How Long Will Food Prices Rise - And How High?
August 16, 2010
Wheat prices have shot up. Is this a permanent increase or just a short, quick burst in prices that should settle down soon? While there's no doubt that long-term demand for wheat and other agricultural products is increasing, it's not clear how successfully supply will be able to keep up. And if people perceive that supply won't keep up, we could even face a panic.
Wheat Prices just increased the most in 51 years. This isn't just a temporary spike. It's because of increasing demand as well as reduced supply.
China, India and other emerging markets are growing and demand for more and better food is on the rise on the part of the people living there. In addition, weather has not cooperated in many parts of the world, most especially in Russia and China. In fact, Russia has suspended exports of grain, because they are concerned they will soon need it to feed their own citizens. Their reduced crop production means supply may not meet domestic demand.
The biggest increase in demand comes from China. And recently - for the first time - China became an importer of wheat. As their economy grows and they become more prosperous, their people want to eat better. Part of eating better means more meat. And grains are used to feed animals. So the pressure builds for more grains not only to directly feed the people, but also to feed more animals to provide the meat people desire.
As a result, on a trend basis, we're looking at long-term increasing demand. And in the short to longer term, reduced supply.
Before we get too panicky, let's think back a couple of years to the last spike in agriculture prices. Food prices didn't go up as much as some people said they would a couple of years ago. Not that food doesn't cost more than it used to. It's just that what people perceive and what's really going on are sometimes two different things.
Will we see prices shoot up, then fall back quickly? Well, because of the permanently increasing demand, we may be looking at a serious and permanent rise in prices. How much prices rise depends on the ability of producers and distributors to keep up with the demand. Again, remember, wheat and other grains are used to make not only products like bread and cereal, but it's also used for feeding animals. That covers a big part of our total food supply.
Now, food prices haven't significantly reacted to all this yet. It may take weeks, maybe months, assuming these skyrocketing wheat prices hold up.
But there is one worry here we need to keep our eyes on. The way prices work has as much to do with perception and anticipation as it does with the actual supply and demand. It's not just a matter crunching numbers: so much supply/so much demand. If people begin to fear that wheat prices - and other grains - are going to continue to rise, possibly rise dramatically, then consumer food prices may soar.
So while logic tells us not to panic, it's important to remember that logic doesn't always rule people's emotions. And while logic ultimately should determine prices, it's equally true that people's emotions can drive prices far higher and for far longer than might make any kind of sense.
If we base what's happening now on what happened a couple of years ago, we may face a shorter-term spike in prices driven by emotion. On the other hand, if emotions get carried away and supply really can't keep up with demand over the short term, we may have a more serious situation on our hands.
Bloomberg reports that Wheat, Corn Stockpiles Dwindle as Russia Drought Curbs Output.
Wheat, Corn Stockpiles Dwindle as Russia Drought Curbs Output
By Jeff Wilson and Whitney McFerron - Aug 12, 2010
The world' s appetite for meat, flour and ethanol is expanding faster than the supply of the crops needed to produce them, eroding inventories and increasing the chance of accelerating food prices.
"The world doesn't have enough exportable supplies to meet demand" for wheat and feed grains, said John Macintosh, 61, a vice president at Rand Financial Services Inc. in Chicago who has been trading agricultural commodities since he was with Continental Grain in 1973.
Russia, the third-largest wheat exporter last year, will ban shipments starting Aug. 15 after concluding that its grain harvest may plunge 38 percent this year to 60 million metric tons. Dmitry Rylko, a director at the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, said yesterday that the estimate may be cut further because of the worsening drought.
Pakistan may be forced to import more grain as the deadliest floods in the nation's history damaged more than a million acres of sugar cane, cotton and rice fields and caused 250 billion rupees ($2.9 billion) of agricultural losses, including losses of wheat, animal fodder and livestock.
"We might see higher grain trade across the globe" as Pakistan steps up purchases, said Amol Tilak, a senior research analyst at Kotak Commodity Services Ltd. in Mumbai.
Another global food crisis is possible if wheat drives the prices higher for other staples, according to Franciscus Welirang, chairman of the Flour Mills Association in Indonesia, the nation's largest buyer of the grain.
"There will be a domino reaction, and we expect corn demand will rise, pushing prices higher, and feed industries will buy more corn and soybeans," Welirang said on Aug. 6. "It's the end of cheap wheat."
"It has the potential to be very explosive the next five weeks because by then we will know if Russia gets enough rain to plant its winter-grain crops," Rand Financial's Macintosh said. "It will take a miracle for Russia to get enough rain to get winter crops fully established" before freezing temperatures arrive at the end of September, he said.
"Russia is not going to let any food out of the region," he said. "Wheat, barley, corn, oilseeds, hay or potatoes that were going to be harvested from July to October have been severely damaged. No one is prepared for this shortfall."
The Market Oracle reports that soaring wheat price lifting the whole global grains market higher.
Soaring Wheat Price Lifting the Whole Global Grains Market Higher
Aug 16, 2010 - 04:53 PM
By Ned W Schmidt
Real cause of higher wheat prices, as well as higher grain prices in general, is world' s just in time inventory approach to Agri-Food. Most nations and food businesses operate as if the world was awash in Agri-Food. Just in time inventory management works with continuous manufacturing processes. It is doomed to regular failure given annual batch production of Agri-Food.
We need to acknowledge some realities of Agri-Food. The world does not have as much Agri-Food as many believe. In less than a month without wheat production somewhere in the world, shortages would develop. Given the current situation, wheat shortages are possible at the beginning of the new year. Second, while technology can enhance Agri-Food production, it cannot make wheat grow without water. Third, the iPad is cool, but it cannot produce food.
At what price will wheat sell in ten years? Is US$18 a bushel possible? Corn perhaps at $11? In a price inelastic world such as is now the case for Agri-Food, prices will be far higher than historical precedent suggests. Many remain mired in the eras of bounty now part of history. Let your thinking become freer by reading The Joy of Agri-Food Price Inelasticity. Perhaps then you will be able to feed your family when palm oil is US$2,100 a ton and eggs are US$2.50 a dozen at wholesale.
Fox News reports that record number of Americans are receiving food stamp benefits.
Record Number of Americans Receiving Food Stamp Benefits
Published August 05, 2010 FoxNews.com
The number of Americans receiving federal aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, soared to a record 40.8 million in May, according to government data released shortly before the Senate voted to cut billions from the food stamps budget.
The Senate voted Thursday to cut $12 billion from the program in order to help fund a $26 billion package to help states avoid teacher layoffs.
But according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures, the number of people on the food stamp rolls has been growing to record levels for 18 straight months. Nearly $5.5 billion in aid went out to beneficiaries in May alone. The number of May recipients marked a 19 percent increase from a year ago.
"That is a historic high," USDA spokeswoman Jean Daniel said.
The sustained increase in food stamp recipients coincides with sustained high unemployment. The jobless rate dipped to 9.5 percent in June, but has hovered above 9 percent since mid-2009.
Daniel said the food program was intended to take in lots of people during times of economic hardship.
"That's exactly the way the program was designed many years ago -- it was designed to expand and contract based on economic conditions," she said.
Daniel said the department does not have projections showing when the increase might level off, but he cautioned that reductions in enrollment typically lag behind changes in the unemployment rate. If the jobless rate goes down, it could take several months before the number of food stamp recipients falls accordingly.
Daniel said many of the recipients are unemployed and have never gone on food stamps before in their lives.
"This is really low-income and people who are very much in need," she said.
The Huffington Post reports that one of every seven Americans on Food Stamps.
'No Precedent' For Proposed Cuts To Food Stamp Benefits
First Posted: 08-17-10 10:16 AM
To help prevent a pair of domestic spending bills from adding to the national budget deficit, Democratic leaders in the Senate have proposed cuts to future food stamp funding, saving $14.1 billion over 10 years.
In April 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted monthly benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) by 13.6 percent. As economic misery has worsened, participation in SNAP has risen since then from 34.4 million to 40.8 million as of May 2010. That's one of every seven Americans.
My reaction: The world is at the edge of disaster and most people don' t have a clue.