***We received lots of feedback regarding John's Mailbag segment focusing on sushi and food stamps...a transcript of the segment is below, followed by viewer feedback...
*Farm Report Mailbag:
RUSSEL LEE IN OLDTOWN, IDAHO HAS THIS IDEA REGARDING FARM SUBSIDIES AND THE OBESITY PROBLEM: "WHAT WE SHOULD DO IN THE NEXT FARM BILL IS DRASTICALLY REDUCE OR ELIMINATE SUBSIDIES FOR CORN AND PUT THAT MONEY TOWARD SUBSIDIZING THE GROWING OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES, NUTS, AND LOW-FAT PROTEINS". RUSSEL, THE BATTLE BETWEEN FOOD AND FARM PROGRAMS IS TRULY UNDERWAY. JUST THIS WEEK TESTIMONY AT ONE USDA HEARING FOCUSSED ON THE PERVERSE SITUATION OF OBESITY PROBLEMS AMONG THE POOR. IN FACT, EVEN THE WAY WE MEASURE HUNGER MAY BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM. REGARDLESS I SUPPORT YOUR IDEA. FIRST, BECAUSE I CONTINUE TO OPPOSE FARM SUBSIDIES AS MORALLY BANKRUPT AND ECONOMICALLY IRRATIONAL. AS THE CORN GROWERS HAVE STRESSED, THE PRICE OF SUBSIDIZED CORN FOR EXAMPLE, HAS ONLY A TINY IMPACT ON FOOD PRICES. UNFORTUNATELY, THE MYTH OF FARM PROGRAMS BEING CHEAP FOOD PROGRAMS IS AS HARD TO LAY TO REST AS THE NOW THOROUGHLY DISPROVED IDEA THAT TAX CUTS PAY FOR THEMSELVES. BUT LIKE YOU, I THINK THE IDEA OF MAKING GOOD FOOD CHOICES MORE POSSIBLE FOR LOW EARNERS IS GOOD FOR CONSUMERS AND PRODUCERS. FOOD STAMPS ARE AN EFFICIENT ECONOMIC TOOL, BECAUSE EVERY DOLLAR GETS SPENT. WHILE I AM SUSPICIOUS OF SIMPLE SOLUTIONS TO COMPLEX ISSUES THIS MIGHT HAVE POSSIBILITIES. SINCE WE ALREADY STIPULATE WHAT FOOD STAMPS CANNOT BE SPENT ON, SUCH AS ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO, WHY NOT HAVE FOOD STAMPS DESIGNATED STRICTLY FOR PRODUCTS SUCH AS YOU MENTION? DEMAND RISES, DIETS IMPROVE, AND JUST MAYBE, WAISTLINES SHRINK.
I see your point about Sushi as a healthy food, however the outrage over food stamps is a little more complex. I'm ticked when they are used for snack foods too.
I think food stamps should be limited to staples. I eat old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast every morning. The stuff is cheap, very healthy, and it is great if you take the time to prepare it correctly. Maybe a lot of these people on food stamps would be better off if they learned to cook "staple" foods on a daily basis. I would estimate saving $100-200 per month by sticking with staples and avoiding processed alternatives.
Well, my two cents.
Au Gres, MI
I agree there are many items that should NOT be purchased with food stamps. When I see parents weighing 300, 400 pounds or more leading around young children who are ALREADY 100 pounds overweight and their grocery cart is filled with snack cakes, honeybuns, doritos, potato chips, carbonated drinks, ice cream, candy and, if the kids are 'lucky,' some pizzas or tv dinners, I just have a hard time with that. When my children were very young (more than 35 years ago) and I had to have food stamps for a short period of time, I did not buy such stuff as that...if I had, my children would not have had any healthy food to eat. I always made sure they had healthy food. If they got chips or cookies, etc., they had to use 'grandma's' allowance money to buy them! If you think the medical problems of Americans are bad right now, just wait a few years...you ain't seen nothing yet! I still have to use food stamps from time to time because I am disabled (crippled), but I don't even buy processed foods for myself! I cook my meals or eat salads from scratch. Only healthy foods should be paid for by food stamps...if people want junk food, they will FIND a way to pay for it...STOP making it easy for people to be SICK!
Thank you for your down-to-earth sensible show, I try to watch every week. We need some sanity in a world filled with INsanity. Please don't use my name...it's no one's business if I have to use food stamps sometimes. Until October 2003, when I became crippled, I worked 7 days a week, 365 days a year! I grew up on a tobacco/dairy farm in central North Carolina so you KNOW I had to work to survive. Then I raised my three daughters by myself for 30 years and you know I had to work hard to do that, too (no support from their father). Several of my neighbors who have gardens will bring me the produce they don't use and I either can it, dry it or freeze it. I get people to help me pick up apples and pears and anything else I can get for free and can that, dry it or freeze it, too. I work HARD for my food and I think everyone else should, too. I also garden a little, as much as possible but I try to have staples such as asparagus and sunchokes, things I don't have to plant every year. Lettuce in raised beds, tomatoes on the porch in big pots, etc. Oops, didn't mean to run on for so long! Love all your shows on RFD-TV and tell everyone about it!
I saw your broadcast of May 15, 2010. I think that people should be able to use food stamps to buy sushi. It is one way to get people to purchase, sample, eat, introduce to their children, and keep eating healthier foods. Healthier habits.