Surplus Crop Problem

Close your eyes for just a minute and imagine an old fashioned country kitchen. As you look around the room, you notice a fresh baked cherry pie sitting in the slightly opened window cooling. Ambling a little closer you begin to get a whiff of the pie’s heavenly aroma as the pie releases it steam. For many people, this is a heavenly picture made complete by the perfectly tart cherries within the pie.
Now, welcome to the reality of what many tart cherry farmers are facing in Michigan as they are forced to dump thousands of perfectly harvested tart cherries on the ground to rot. It is not the farmer’s idea to let their product lay on the ground to rot. They do it because the government demands that they only sell a certain amount of tart cherries each year. The government claims that it adds stability to the market. In the case of Marc Santucci about 40,000 cherries lay on the ground rotting, according to the Huffington Post.
The problem is not with the cherries themselves. There is a two or three day window to harvest and process the cherries. The government mandates that they can only process so many cherries each year.
While this makes cherry farmers angry, they are not the only farmers who face this issue. On a yearly basis, many potato farmers are forced to spread perfectly golden or red potatoes back over their fields to rot.
If the food was not needed, that might be one thing. The food is needed, however, to feed Americans. As the cherries lay in the field rotting, under trade agreements, cherries are regularly imported from other countries like Turkey and Eastern European countries. In the case of potatoes, $2.7 billion of potatoes were imported mainly in the form of French fries from Canada.
If we assume that letting product rot provides price stabilization, then producers should be able to donate the food. The problem is that there is no network connecting these growers with food banks. There is also no way to move the food from where the surplus exists to food banks throughout the nation or world.

Agriculture Department Set to Reopen Some its Offices After Closure

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to open the offices it had closed as a result of anonymous email threats. Through its spokesman Mathew Herrick, the department said that it would reopen its offices in Colorado, West Virginia, Kearneysville and North Carolina before Friday to allow resumption of normal operations. Following the Monday email threats, the offices will now have additional security measures put in place 24/7. However, other offices in Hamden, Connecticut, and Leetown will remain closed until effective security solutions are put into place.

A lot of facilities had been affected by the email threat. Even the USDA agencies such as the Food Safety and Inspection Service and Forest Service were closed. Its sprawling research center in Maryland was also not spared in the process. Employees were told to go home after the threat emails were received on late Monday. Through a memo circulated in the company’s intranet, the employees had been told to wait for security improvements and notification from the officials on when to resume work.

The White House together with the Department of Homeland Security is working on the case to ensure all the USDA offices get adequate security. The White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the department has already made a significant progress to ensure its facilities and workforce are protected. Officials remain adamant that other facilities will reopen soon.

Apparently, the email came from one source and was sent to several employees from different offices of the department in five states. The department is also working with the FBI to determine the source of the email and gauge whether it is real or not. Various sources reveal that the closure might have affected tourism in Colorado. Tourists usually throng the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, which is controlled by the Forest Service. Many people think that this was just a mild form of bluffing from cyber criminals. Many are hoping everything will be back to normal soon