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Food stamps promote national defense


I am responding to the article in the Times on June 24, “Food stamp program must be saved.” Whenever the farm bill is mentioned, some major issues that agriculture in this country influences are either ignored or maybe not even realized.

Agricultural programs should be considered to be part of our defense spending. A country that can not feed its population can never become a major power in the world. If a country’s people are hungry, then the political system in that country is unstable or very likely to be overthrown from within the powers of its neighbors.

This country is the most powerful nation in the world, not because of its military might, but because of its ability to feed itself and half the world. Food is a valuable commodity as well as a very influential bargaining chip when used in foreign policy. Other countries can live without our ammunition, but they can’t live without our food. Allies, like friends, are best made over the dinner table rather than on the battlefield.

After World War II, the U.S. airlifted tons of food to Europe and Germany. We helped feed our allies and our enemies alike.

This helped form trust and goodwill that later became the oasis that shaped foreign policy today. It makes sense to support an industry that feeds the country, half the word, and promotes political stability and keeps the economy growing. Without farm subsidies, the consumer literally could not afford to eat. The subsidies allow marketers of food products to gain a profit at the producers’ expense. Low food prices free up money to be spent by the consumer in other ways.

On top of this, agriculturists operate within a system that they have absolutely no control over: the weather. At times, it’s hard to choose what’s more fickle, the weather or prices for our products.

In response to Rep. Fincher of Tennessee, who said “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sometimes one can work hard and still not be able to eat. Farming, like life, is a humbling experience that requires hard work. Perhaps Fincher should put down his Bible and pick up a shovel, hoe or pitchfork.

Our foreign policy and its food stamp programs should be shaped in the same way that the U.S. landscape was shaped; by hard work, dedication, and generosity of its farmers.

Cindy Sourwine


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