The food supply chain is dramatically changing world-wide, likely altering things indefinitely. Grocery store sales are skyrocketing and food bank demand is at record-highs due to unemployment. Simultaneously, food processing plants are having to close many of their facilities and restaurants are shutting their doors which in turn will leave farmers with nowhere to process and sell their products. Despite the excess that farmers are currently experiencing, the increased demand of grocery stores is not enough to make up for the quantity that restaurants and schools would have used. While farmers have donated millions of pounds of food to food banks already, it isn’t sustainable. Officials have been stating food shortages are coming.
The Left blame the Trump administration for failing to facilitate government action quickly enough. They argue that despite multiple entreaties, the Agriculture Department failed to take action for over a month, resulting in millions of pounds of food and crops being destroyed, even amidst the needs of food banks. It was estimated by one LA food bank that 3,000 families would be coming through in just one day. Democrats are saying that efforts being made are inadequate and will be too late at this point. Current US Dairy Export Council president and former Obama administration agriculture secretary noted that it wasn’t about food shortage, but rather “significant misalignment” of the supply and demand chain. Critics deem Trump’s federal coordination efforts a failure during this food crisis.
Kentucky state Representative Thomas Massie (R) is saying the USDA needs to move quickly to loosen regulations that are hindering food production. Currently, farmers are having to destroy crops, milk is being dumped, and cattle may be euthanized because of the surplus. Massie is calling on Congress, which is Democrat controlled, to pass the bipartisan PRIME Act, which would “allow farmers to sell food locally using small scale family owned processors.” Mid April, President Trump announced a $19 billion agricultural relief effort called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. It is a two-part plan that will purchase foods from farmers, ranchers, and dairy and meat suppliers and then work with food distributors to get those products to nonprofits and food banks. One farmer remarked that despite these efforts, ultimately there is no good solution to the fresh food surplus caused by the economic shutdown.
Many Republicans are calling for the economy to reopen, which in turn would help level out supply and demand.