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U.S. Department of Agriculture
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:24pm
Wed Aug 21, 2013

Experts: New Chicago Food Desert Numbers Not As 'Rosy' As Emanuel Says

Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the population of food deserts in Chicago declined 21 percent over the past two years thanks to 15 new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts. But those working on the ground to combat food-access issues in Chicago say the new numbers are not as sweet as they appear.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:14pm
Mon Jun 3, 2013

New Report Highlights Need To Reform The Farm Bill's Sugar Program

Changes made to the federal sugar program in the 2008 farm bill have caused sugar prices to spike to record levels, which hurts businesses, manufacturers and consumers, a new report from the food and agriculture consulting company Agralytica shows.

Extra consumer costs due to the 2008 farm bill have tallied about $3.7 billion each year, according to the report (PDF) released Monday. Currently, sugar prices in the United States are about 46 cents per pound, which is higher than 28 cents per pound under the 2002 farm bill.

Sugar producers in the United States and Mexico have responded to the high prices in the U.S. market by expanding sugar production by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Agralytica’s Vice President Tom Earley.

The 2008 changes have made “a bad program even worse and have destabilized the U.S. sugar market,” said Earley, who is also an agricultural economist and trade policy specialist.

“Now we have too much sugar that’s driving prices down that’s going to result in significant costs for the government,” he explained.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
8:55pm
Wed Oct 10, 2012

Cuts In The Farm Bill Could Spell Trouble For Neediest Americans

Thousands of low-income families throughout Illinois could lose food aid if Congress passes the deep cuts to federal assistance currently being proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the findings of a report released this week.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
2:00pm
Fri Aug 3, 2012

Majority Of Illinois Counties Deemed ‘Disaster’ Areas: What This Means

Obama administration Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has added to the list of counties classified as disaster areas due to the historically destructive summer drought. The majority of American counties are now deemed disaster areas, including 98 of 102 in Illinois, with the urban and suburban counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will not getting the designation.

Gov. Pat Quinn pushed for the disaster designation. After all, it’s hard for government to immediately respond – neither Obama nor Quinn can make it rain – and the disaster tag indicates acknowledgement of a serious problem.