What is in this article?:
- US most food-secure country in world
- Food security not universal
- If one part of the United States endures poor weather for agriculture, another section can begin to make up the difference through its own productivity. International trade networks also soften the blow: Buying and selling food across borders means that no single region is abandoned to its own fate.
Food security not universal
Yet food security is hardly universal. Around the world, according to the Global Food Security Index, billions of people lack it. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only Botswana and South Africa enjoy reasonable levels of food security. Their neighbors often live on the brink of catastrophe–and there, a drought like the one now hitting the American Midwest is measured not in dollars lost but in lives destroyed.
Signs suggest that global food security may improve in the near term. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently issued its International Food Security Assessment, which predicts that rates of food insecurity will creep downward between 2011 and 2012. In the decade ahead, the share of the population without adequate food security will drop from 24 percent to 21 percent.
If there’s a drawback to food security, it’s in the encouragement of an unwelcome complacency: the problem of taking food security for granted. We may live in the most food-secure nation in the world, but our country is full of hyperventilating activists who step in front of television cameras and try to terrify us about the perils of our safe, affordable, and abundant food.
We’ve never had it better, but they try to convince us that things couldn’t be worse. We see it all the time, from celebrity chefs who appear unfamiliar with basic nutritional facts to anti-biotech activists who want to frighten voters into approving a costly labeling rule that will drive up grocery-store bills without achieving anything good in return.
Let’s keep things in perspective, and recognize good news when we see it. The United States is food secure–and it will stay that way for a long time, if only we remember how we got here.
John Reifsteck is a corn and soybean producer in western Champaign County Illinois. He volunteers as a Board Member for Truth About Trade & Technology.