Home » Letter: U.S. National Security Reliant on Food Security
Central US Featured Food Food & Drinks Global News News US

Letter: U.S. National Security Reliant on Food Security

Despite its often-maligned reputation, Congress holds immense power over national security, with responsibilities ranging from declaring war to ratifying treaties. While these duties are well-known, another critical aspect of national security lies in the very soil that our country sits upon: food security. The abundance of natural resources in America is an asset that requires protection and management.

Every five years, Congress faces the important task of reauthorizing the farm bill, a cornerstone of the federal government’s responsibilities. The current bill, set to expire on Sept. 30, is recognized by both parties as one of the “must-pass” pieces of legislation for the 118th Congress and negotiations are underway.

The Farm Bill, originally conceived as part of the New Deal, governs agriculture policy in the United States. Since its last authorization in 2018, the nation has undergone significant changes. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains and food availability, historic flooding devastated crops in the Midwest, and massive hurricanes and wildfires wreaked havoc across the country.

Throughout it all, farmers have displayed remarkable resilience, producing sufficient crops to meet the growing demands of consumers.

One crucial component in this resiliency is the Federal Crop Insurance Program, which has become the primary risk management tool for farmers. Please note that FCIP is only 6.7 percent of the total Farm Bill. There are 11 different line items that make up the total Farm Bill’s baseline.

The FCIP is instrumental in protecting farming communities and ensuring food security. Farmers can plan meticulously for a successful harvest, but unforeseen events such as storms or market fluctuations can shatter those plans. Crop insurance serves as a safety net, providing farmers with a lifeline during crises and allowing them to recover and start anew. This certainty is critical for a whole host of reasons that support our nation’s well-being.

Food security is the backbone of American resilience, ensuring that the population has access to food and reduces the risk of hunger and malnutrition. The stability provided by crop insurance empowers farmers to manage risks and bounce back from adverse events that could otherwise disrupt food production.

Additionally, a robust agricultural sector bolsters the nation’s economic strength and competitiveness. Farming operations provide employment opportunities, which contribute to economic growth and support rural development.

Finally, in a globalized world food security carries geopolitical implications. Relying heavily on food imports from other countries can leave a nation vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, political tensions, or market manipulation. By prioritizing food security and bolstering domestic agricultural production, a country can enhance its resilience to external shocks and exert greater control over its food supply.

This is all to say that the FCIP is critically important for both food security and national security. As Congress works to reauthorize the program, it must not make any cuts to crop insurance. If anything, it should increase the budget for crop insurance.

Operational and production costs continue to go up for the farming community, and Congress must recognize that. Only by safeguarding the stability and resiliency of our agricultural industry can we build a stronger, self-reliant, and secure nation.

Bill Pearson,

Source : Nwest Ioawa