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Another Uncle Sam pork delivery

By Trent Loos

Here is something that all Americans can wear proudly on our sleeves--or maybe not.

In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, one out of every seven receives the benefit. After the recession, the ratio is expected to hover around one out of every nine, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Yes, the number of Americans who receive food assistance is just short of 47 million. Well, that statement isn't exactly correct either. It's not just Americans who are getting American food stamp assistance. Thanks to a formal request from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the USDA admits that they have been aggressively courting our friends south of the border and encouraging them to sign up to get our food stamps.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack admits in a written response that the USDA has met with the Mexican government 30 times to recruit non-citizens to enroll in the SNAP program.

"I share the goal stated in your letter," Vilsack concluded in his letter to Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, "which is to help people move toward gainful employment and financial independence. At the same time, the nation's nutrition assistance programs have never been needed more to help struggling families until they get back on their feet. I hope that this information clarifies our efforts and my views on these vital programs."

USDA did not offer data for 2011 and 2012, but a Republican Committee staffer told The Daily Caller news service that based on the growth rate, the number of legal non-citizens participating in the food stamp program today is about 1.63 million. That's more than double the number of legal non-citizens who participated in 2008.

That, my friends, is just one example of the accelerated spending by the Obama administration to enroll more people into food assistance.

Spending on the food stamp program has increased 100 percent under President Barack Obama, and the government continues to push more Americans to enroll in the welfare program.

For whatever reason, the Obama thought process is to rapidly increase the number of people getting a handout. Of course, in my opinion, this is simply buying votes but nonetheless it would appear we need to modify the whole situation.

Why on earth would we allow people to spend food welfare money on the most expensive, highly processed ready-to-eat foods? To be clear, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program clearly states that no hot food can be purchased with these funds. I think it is time that we demand a change.

If you receive food welfare, the least you should have to do is prepare your food instead of simply popping a tray into the microwave. Cooking is making a comeback because you can use fresh ingredients and when you do it from scratch, the cost is significantly less than buying prepared meals. I can go to the store today and get food quite a bit cheaper when I buy my hamburger in bulk, my chickens whole and my ham with a bone in it.

A five-pound sack of potatoes can be purchased for less than two dollars. Buy all your vegetables in season when they are cheap and can or freeze them for consumption year round.

In 2011, we gave an average of $283.99 per month to each household participating in this program but what did we teach them? We did not teach them how to survive better and work toward self-sufficiency. We only taught them to stand at the gate and we will bring you your feed. That does not help people, it creates dependency. Let's go clear back to "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." It still applies today unless our goal is to make them dependent upon our government for everything they need.

While I think we should disband the entire program, I do not believe in government subsidies for the farmer or the consumer. Nonetheless, there are times when people could use a hand up but it should be structured much more like in an investment in building a stronger society of people rather than a nation waiting on Uncle Sam to show up with the pork. When you have to work for something, you have a much greater appreciation for its value than you do when its handed to you.

Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at

Date: 10/8/2012


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