Report from Louisiana: A “Real” Food Crisis

Posted: March 28, 2022 by Pat Austin in Uncategorized
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Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As President Biden warns of a “real” food shortage, my husband is on social media ranting about the CRP program and will certainly end up in the Facebook gulag again soon. It’s a matter of time.

The CRP, or Conservation Reserve Program, has been around since 1985, signed into law by President Reagan, and basically pays farmers not to grow certain crops on their land.

In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are from 10 to15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

Besides conservation, it has the added benefit of stabilizing prices and keeping commodity prices from bottoming out.

As a native Iowan, he knows farmers who have prime agricultural land but grow nothing and instead collect a big check from the government each year to literally not grow crops. And then there are the occasional ones who collect their CRP check but also raise a crop and therefore double dip.

I’m not painting farmers as the bad guys; don’t mistake my point. In fact, recently farmers have been pleading with the Dept of Agriculture to open CRP lands:

“…Seven agriculture lobbying organizations fired off a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack this week asking the USDA for flexibility for farmers to plant crops on more than four million acres of “prime farmland” that’s currently enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s CRP without penalty.

“It remains to be seen if Ukraine’s farmers will be able to safely plant crops,” the letter says. “Time is of the essence. The planting window in the United States is already open.”

While the CRP program does have certain conservation benefits, perhaps in the face of a worldwide food shortage, we need to take another look at this.

I have been hearing more and more people talking about planning gardens and stockpiling pantries in anticipation of rising food prices and shortages. Is this alarmist? Are we over-reacting? We all have seen shortages of various items since the Great Toilet Paper Shortage during Covid. The latest hard-to-come-by thing around here has been saltine crackers. So odd.

All of this does make one thing seriously about a self-sustaining lifestyle though; growing your own food, getting back to the very basics. We are currently in south Louisiana where the Cajun people know all about being self-reliant. I don’t see a lot of concern around here except in the few transplants that have moved in.

But, the more Biden warns of shortages, the more alarm will rise, and perhaps that is also the point because the Democrats believe only they can save us from ourselves.

Maybe we all need to plant a garden this spring and stockpile some rice and flour.

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  2. Pod Hamp says:

    Good luck to your husband on his crusade to open up farmland. But like many others I am buying extra food every time I shop and have already started planting my garden for the year. And we are still a few weeks early for gardening in my locale. Yeah, I don’t want to face empty shelves and desperate shoppers. I have faced a persistent shortage of distilled water for my cap to the point that I bought a water distiller. Ymmv