Remember when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a national grain reserve to help American farmers during the Great Depression? Well, guess what? There are no more grain reserves held by the U.S. government to protect you or anyone else. Here are more fascinating facts. Did you know?
- There is now little to no buffer for Americans to put bread on the table
- The United States government once held vast grain reserves in silos across the country
- Our reserves vanished due to the 1996 abolishment of our national system of holding grain in reserve
- The grain reserve was gradually depleted by 2008, which is when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent
- The commodities that once stabilized prices for farmers and American consumers ends up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture
- The actual wheat reserves were converted into the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT)
- The BEHT is a strategic grain reserve of commodities and cash held in trust to supplement food aid
- The Trust can hold up to four million metric tons of wheat, corn, sorghum, and rice
- The authorizing statute also authorizes the Trust to hold cash in lieu of commodities
- In 2008, as global food prices spiked, the remaining commodities (about 915,000 metric tons) were sold
- Now the trust is solely a cash reserve, invested in low-risk or short-term securities
- The BEHT can respond to local food crises outside the U.S.
- Since the BEHT no longer holds commodities, it cannot respond to a global crisis that affects the USA itself
Homeschoolers: Sketch/color an illustration. Theme: food. Finish this sentence: My favorite food is… Read the story called The Little Red Hen. Describe who helped the Little Red Hen eat the tasty, fresh baked bread. Younger students: Print each vocabulary word (wheat, grain, reserve, agriculture, commodity) ten times or until you can spell it correctly. Older students: Use each word in a sentence. Write your opinion of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.