Just a few weeks ago, the thought of a grocery store with empty shelves was a foreign concept to consumers around the United States. It is an idea we associate with developing nations or an Orwellian dystopia.
But here we are. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, people have flocked to grocery stores and other food retailers to stock up on the items they see as essential to riding out the Coronavirus pandemic. And while grocery stores, at times, may appear to have been ransacked, the shelves are re-stocked, and consumers can be assured that their favorite items – from staples to niceties – will be replenished.
This is what American agriculture and our nation’s food supply chain have aimed to accomplish, and today, the American consumer is reaping the benefits of the most stable, secure and safe food and fiber system in the world.
Times like these are a reminder that food security is a matter of national security. We can rely upon American-produced food products to carry our nation through challenging times as well as ordinary times. When we have a secure food supply, we have a secure people and a secure nation.
Our farmers and ranchers will continue to grow safe, affordable and abundant food. It is the goal for which agriculture has strived, and we have accomplished it though becoming more efficient in every possible way.
Today, while some grocery store shelves may not have your favorite kind of bread, wheat is growing in our fields and grain is stored in facilities around our country. While a Sunday-evening survey of a local Walmart may reveal no meat in the meat case, there are cattle grazing in pastures and gaining in feedlots.
The American agriculture and food supply chain was created for times like this. Through generations, our farm and ranch families never forgot the lessons learned in hard times, such as the depression and World War II. These families will continue to efficiently cultivate the land and responsibly tend to their livestock to ensure the United States will have the food we need to power our nation.
This also illuminates the need for federal farm programs. Programs that help provide crop insurance, disaster recovery and spur on conservation practices are created not only for ordinary times. They have been designed and implemented to ensure we have a steady, reliable food and fiber system for extraordinary times.
Together, our nation will work through this COVID-19 pandemic. The American – and world – consumer can rest assured that American farm and ranch families will continue to grow and raise food, carrying on a generations-old tradition of being ready and prepared to meet the nutritional needs of the world, no matter the circumstances.