By Mike Barnett
Hunger is an obscure notion for well-fed Americans.
At least it is for me. I plead guilty for taking my food for granted.
That realization came to me as I sat in front of the television the other night; fork in hand, a steak and baked potato sitting on the tray in front of me. A report came on the evening news about the unrest in Egypt spreading to other third world countries. The focus of the report was soaring world food prices and it partially blamed the high cost of food for rioting in the streets.
Although I blame the political regimes which foster policies that encourage poverty more than I blame the rising cost of food, I realize hunger is a powerful motivator. Penniless people not knowing where their next meal is coming from does not encourage political durability. Knowing your children are hungry as you put them to bed; not knowing if you can feed them tomorrow fosters a climate for change.
A bite of steak had to bypass a big lump in my throat as I swallowed hard. A shiver ran down my spine as I thought how fortunate Americans are.
We live in a country where food is abundant. Sure, some wrestle with the economic downturn while others struggle to escape their station in life. But food is available to every American. Every grocery store is stocked. There’s a restaurant on most every corner.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Egyptians spend nearly 40 percent of their income for food. By contrast, U.S. consumers spend around 10 percent. Nobody in the world has better access to abundant, affordable food than the American consumer.
America is truly blessed with abundant resources and the farmers and ranchers who efficiently use them to produce a cornucopia of food and fiber. If plentiful, affordable food fosters stability for both people and governments, America is a rock.
Today marks the beginning of Food Check-Out Week, an annual recognition of our nation’s abundant food supply. Texas Farm Bureau and Farm Bureaus across the state and nation hope you will join in this celebration of food security.
This annual observance reminds me that many blessings Americans enjoy should not be taken for granted. Include food in that category.
If you need a reminder of your good fortunes, just turn on the evening news.