agriculture * food * energy * environment
Richer nations with competitive crop production and few trade barriers would fare the best if climate change, weather events or other factors cause yields of grain and oilseed crops to become more volatile, a new study has found.
By these criteria, the United States is poised to do well, but France would come out on top, according to the study of 21 countries conducted by economists at Oregon State University.
“It’s important to know this because yields of most rain-fed grains and oilseeds remain highly variable despite decades of agronomic advances,” said the study’s lead author, Jeff Reimer. “Their yields depend largely on weather. Research shows that climate change may increase variability in yields of some crops.”
By Robert Pore
As Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, a new report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that food insecurity in the United States was increasing. that in 2008, 85.4 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year.
According to ERS, food-secure households had consistent access to enough food for active healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year.
The remaining 14.6 percent (17 million households) were food insecure, according to the ERS report. These households, at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources, the report said.
The prevalence of food insecurity was up from 11.1 percent (13 million households) in 2007 and was the highest observed since nationally representative food security surveys were initiated in 1995.
About one-third of food-insecure households (6.7 million households, or 5.7 percent of all U.S. households), the report said, had very low food security, up from 4.7 million households (4.1 percent) in 2007, and the highest level observed since nationally representative food security surveys were initiated in 1995.
In households with very low food security, the report said that the food intake of some household members was reduced, and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the household’s food insecurity. The other two-thirds of food-insecure households obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in federal food and nutrition assistance programs, or obtaining emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.
Even when resources are inadequate to provide food for the entire family, children are usually shielded from the disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake that characterize very low food security.according to the report.
“ However, children as well as adults experienced instances of very low food security in 506,000 households (1.3 percent of households with children) in 2008, up from 323,000 households (0.8 percent of households with children) in 2007.” the report said. “On a given day, the number of households with very low food security was a small fraction of the number that experienced this condition “at some time during the year.”
Typically, the report said, households classified as having very low food security experienced the condition in 7 or 8 months of the year, for a few days in each of those months.
“On an average day in late November or early December, 2008, for example, an estimated 1.1 million to 1.4 million households (0.9-1.2 percent of all U.S. households) had members who experienced very low food security, and children experienced these conditions in 86,000 to 111,000 households (0.22 to 0.28 percent of all U.S. households with children),” the report said. ”The prevalence of food insecurity varied considerably among different types of households.”
According to the report, rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, households with children headed by single women or single men, and Black and Hispanic households.
Food insecurity, the report said, was more common in large cities and rural areas than in suburban areas and other outlying areas around large cities.
According to the report:
*Regionally, food insecurity was most prevalent in the South, intermediate in the Midwest and West, and least prevalent in the Northeast.
*Food-secure households spent more for food than food-insecure households. In 2008, the median U.S. household spent $43.75 per person for food each week—about 14 percent more than the cost of USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (a low-cost food “market basket” that meets dietary standards, taking into account household size and the age and gender of household members). The median food-secure household spent 18 percent more than the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan, while the median food-insecure household spent 10 percent less than the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan. Some food-insecure households turn to Federal food and nutrition assistance programs or emergency food providers in their communities when they are unable to obtain enough food.
*Fifty-five percent of the food-insecure households surveyed in 2008 said that in the previous month they had participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs—the National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the new name for the Food Stamp Program), and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
*About 20 percent of food-insecure households obtained emergency food from a food pantry at some time during the year, and 2.6 percent ate one or more meals at an emergency kitchen in their community. used public or private food and nutrition assistance programs.
Want to break the cycle of poverty?
The key is good nutrition. Promote health, you’re on the path of eliminating poverty.
According to a new report from Cornell University researchers, nearly half of American children – including 90 percent of black children and 90 percent of children who spend their childhoods in single-parent households – will eat meals paid for by food stamps at some point during childhood.
Just because food is cheap and plentiful, it doesn’t mean it’s nutritious. Good nutrition starts at childhood and is a foundation for a healthy and productive as the child matures into adulthood.