Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, May 23, 1970, Image 18

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    —Lancaster Farming. Saturday, May 23,1970
Also Discusses Food Stamp Program
Hardin Says
Secretary of Agriculture Clif
ford M. Hardin recently told a
meeting of agricultural adver
tising and marketing leaders
the fact that food is a good buy
is one of the worst told stories
of the day.
“And understandably so,” he
said. “When milk, for example,
goes up a cent a quart, how do
you dramatize the fact that in
terms of working time required
to buy it, milk still remains 15
percent cheaper than it was 10
years ago?
“You don't The fact that a
quart of milk cost him more
time and effort 10 years ago
means nothing to the consumer
hit by a price boost today This
is the problem faced by those
of us who would point out that
iood expenditures continue to
take a declining share oi dispos
able consumer income in this
The Secretary addressed the
11th meeting ol the National
Agricultural Advertising and
Marketing Association in New
York City.
He also discussed participa
tion gains in the USDA’s food
assistance programs, and the
need to develop rural America
as a place to live for all who
would choose It, but he dwelt
most heavily on food as a good
He noted that food prices
have risen less than three
fourths as much as all other
consumer goods in the past 10
“While the overall Consumer
Price Index was rising by more
than 30 per cent from the 1957-
59 average, the retail cost of
foods, as measured by a market
basket, was rising 22 per cent,”
the Secretary said.
“In the same period
through 1969 income per
pei son rose by $1,252, or 67 per
cent, while food expenditures
went up by Sl3l, or 35 per cent
"Ten minutes of facloi v labor
bought twice ns much bread in
1969 as it did in 1929 It bought
more round steak, butler, milk,
eggs, poik chops, maigarine
all of them majoi food items
“And it buys the American
woiker moie food than the
same working time buys the
man in other countries.
“Americans pay a smaller
share of their income for food
than anyone else about 16V2
per cent of our total consumer
expenditures goes for food. In
Canada, the figure is about 20
Food Is Good Buy
per cent; in Western Europe
and Japan about 37 per cent;
and it goes on up to 50 per cent
in Russia and 60 per cent or
more in developing countries.
“The fact is that in terms of
income, in terms of working
time, and in terms of other
countries, food in America, is a
good buy the best it has
been. That is agriculture’s con
sumer story, and one that must
ue row.'
Food to Take Smaller
Percentage of Budget
Food prices me expected to
average 4Vi per cent higher this
year than last, but consumer dis
posable income is expected to
gain at least as much as last
j c ar’s (i 7 per cent.
That means the proportion ol
disposable income spent on food
will drop even lower than last
year’s record low of 16 5 per cent
US DA reported recently.
At the same time, the USDA
also reported that increased sup
plies of poultry, eggs, beef, and
canned and trozen fruits and
juices suggest that total food con
sumption per person will in
crease slightly from a year ago.
The Secretary said he recog
nized that averages are some
times deceptive, and that there
are some poor people on fixed
incomes such as the widow
on an annuity for whom ris
ing food prices are a real hard
Turning to family food as
sistance programs, the Secre
tary said that about nine mil
lion needy persons took part in
them in March five million
in the Food Stamp Program,
and about four million in the
Commodity Distribution Pro
gram. '
“The number of people par
ticipating and their food buying
power have increased sharply
since improvements made in
the Food Sump prog) am earli
er this year have begun to be
implemented by State and local
governments.” he said
“In March, the value of bon
us stamps provided to partici
pating families totaled an esti
mated $7O million up 37 per
cent from $5l million in Febru
ary, and more than double the
January figure.”
The Secretary said that this
increase indicates that the re
vised program is accomplish
ing what it is designed to do
to reach the poorest of the poor
and provide all needy families
with more food for less money.
Under the program, a needy
family pays the amount it has
been spending on food; in re
turn, it is given enough food
tamps to buy in local stores an
“economy level” diet worked
out by Department food econo
The Secretary said the added
"ood buying power not only
helps participating families, but
also bolsters farmers’ markets
and increases business in food
stores in low-income areas.
In the case of food stores, he
oaid, it can have an important
effect in ghettoes and rural
areas where sparse consumer
buying power has limited effi
cient food retailing operations.
He predicted that these bene
fits will grow as participation
expands. • He estimated that
bonus payments under the
stamp program will reach $lOO
million a month for June and
continue into the new fiscal
year at that level. The Presi
dent has asked for a budget of
$1.25 billion for the program
for next year.
The Secretary reminded the
(Continued on Page 26)