Friday, May 09, 2008

From Rep. Cooper, Re: Food Shortage

I thank my U.S. Representative, Jim Cooper, for the following thoughtful response to my letter regarding the global food crisis. (Senator Corker's form letter that failed to address any of my concerns was far less encouraging.) I wasn't a fan of Cooper when we Nashville-area voters first elected him in 2002. Since then, I've really come to appreciate my U.S. Representative, mainly because he sends such thoughtful answers to my letters.

Dear Mr. Tinley:

Thank you for getting in touch to express your concerns over rising food prices. I agree that this is a very serious issue that deserves our close attention.

As we have seen over recent weeks, the rising cost of food worldwide is causing serious problems both for farmers and citizens. In nations like Indonesia, Senegal, India, Haiti and Zimbabwe, the rising cost of staple grain and rice supplies has caused widespread rioting and civil discontent. Even in the United States, large wholesale stores like Sam's Club and Costco have imposed buying limits on rice and grain. This trend is emblematic of a larger problem facing our world's food
supply that is caused by drought, civil unrest, and the clash between investment in biofuels and feeding the world's hungry.

One possible remedy that I have advocated, along with a small group of my colleagues here, is reforming the Farm Bill to reduce unnecessary spending, and in particular, to reconsider the existing farmer subsidy programs, which have contributed to the
rising cost of food in our country and abroad. This is not a problem that can be solved easily. Sadly, I believe we are only in the beginning stages of this crisis, and in the coming months and years we will have to begin serious consideration of how best to react in order to keep food supplies affordable and accessible to all.

Thanks for your letter. I am glad to know of your involvement in this issue and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I hope to hear from you again soon. Do not hesitate to write at any time.


Jim Cooper
Member of Congress


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