Amidst the global health crisis, the US now has a two-pronged disaster to deal with: farmers deprived of billions of dollars of revenue and the struggle of freshly unemployed Americans to feed their families. Millions of pounds worth of American produced harvest is left to rot while food banks strive to meet with the huge increase in demand.
Slow Response Of The Agriculture Department Causes Havoc
Trump’s Agriculture Department has taken a surprising amount of time in making its first moves to deal with the pandemic crisis. Democrat Nikki Fried, commissioner of agriculture in Florida said, “It’s frustrating” to see that the “USDA didn’t move until [last week].” USDA has taken up an awful lot of time in buying up the surplus harvest after the government’s order to avoid restaurants as a preventive measure, which toppled the supply-demand of food across the country.
Obama’s USDA secretary, Tom Vilsack explained the situation saying, “It’s not the lack of food; it’s that food is in one place and the demand is somewhere else and they haven’t been able to connect the dots. You’ve got to galvanize people.”
No Steps Taken To Meet Demands At Food Banks
Feeding America sets the increase in demand at food banks at 70% while Florida farmers are compelled to destroy surplus crops or bury them under the soil to avoid pests. Millions of pounds worth of food is rotting while the queue outside hundreds of food banks increase by each passing day. USDA, in mid-April, set up a $19 billion program in which $3 million was set aside to buy surplus harvest. However, “it won’t help Florida,” claims Brittany Lee, Executive Director of Florida Blueberry Growers Association, as the packaging and shipping will take a lot of time to meet any current requirements.
USDA Declines To Accept Any Delay In Their Crisis Management
USDA suggested in statements that they have maximized their services and flexibilities in these trying times. However, they have declined any discussion on the matter of surplus food rot.
The pandemic exposed the USDA’s failure at crisis management. The Department sits idle while food bank demands increase at an unprecedented rate.