Check out the debate over the Ryan budget in the House of Representatives. Take note of  "Bob" and federal food assistance programs, where the debate  mentioned a couple of sacred cows:

 Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Chair, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston).
  Mr. KINGSTON. America is on the economic road to Greece. Our national debt is 100 percent of our gross domestic product. And I want you to think about that 1 minute. Did you ever think you would hear that on the floor of Congress, that our national debt is 100 percent of our
gross domestic product?

You know there are 44 different Federal job training programs? If one of them works, why would you need the other 43?   The GAO says there are 19 duplications of effort and procurement at  the Pentagon. Let's get rid of them.   Over at the USDA--I happen to know, I'm on this committee--the Federal feeding programs are unbelievable. If you're Bob, and you're 3 years old, Bob is eligible for 12 Federal feeding programs. At 10 years old Bob is eligible for nine. At 35 years old Bob is eligible for seven.
  Mr. KINGSTON. At 65, Bob is eligible for six Federal feeding programs. That doesn't mention what's going on on a State or local  level. These are duplications that Democrats and Republicans alike should agree with, let's eliminate. This is the low fruit.  That's what the Ryan budget does, commonsense reform, elimination of waste and getting rid of the duplications, and putting America on a road to prosperity, so that my children, Ann, Betsy, John and Jim, can live in an economy that's growing where there's opportunities for them. And I urge my colleagues to support the Ryan budget.

                     Bob's Food Assistance Programs

       At age 3, Bob is eligible for 12 programs:
       1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
       2. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
       3. Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP)
       4. School Lunch Program (SBP)
       5. National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
       6. Special Milk Program (SMP) [Can receive if not on any
     other program]
       7. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
       8. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
       9. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
       10. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
       11. Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
       12. WIC's Farmers Market Nutritional Program (FMNP)


       At age 10, Bob is eligible for 9 programs:
       1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
       2. Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP)
       3. School Lunch Program (SBP)
       4. National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
       5. Special Milk Program (SMP)
       6. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
       7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
       8. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
       9. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

       At age 35, Bob is eligible for 7 programs:
       1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
       2. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
       3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
       4. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
       5. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
       6. Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
       7. WIC's Farmers Market Nutritional Program (FMNP)

       At age 65, Bob is eligible for 6 programs:
       1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
       2. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
       3. Sr. Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
       4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
       5. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
       6. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
       At all ages, Bob can receive:

       1. Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR) if living on Indian Reservation & not receiving SNAP
       2. Disaster Assistance Program (D-SNAP) if family  experiences natural disaster
       3. Nutrition Assistance Block Grant (NABG) if family lives  in U.S. Territory

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank), the distinguished ranking member of the Financial Services Committee.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I was interested to hear the gentleman from Georgia, a member of the Appropriations Committee, complain about this duplication. Apparently, during the 6 years when the Republican Party controlled the White House, the House, and the Senate, they  didn't find any of them. They're late to see them, but better late than never.

 

TK: Kingston misses the point. The federal nutrition programs are all different, if only in subtle ways. Using his logic, if one member of Congress can do the job, why have hundreds more beside him?

Here are a few links for readers to check out Monday morning.

The USDA ERS has issued the latest editions of the Vegetables and Pulses outlook (renamed from Vegetables and Melons - another ding on melons?!) and the Fruit and Nuts outlook.

Story of the veg report: much lower shipping prices in January and February.

From the Vegetable report, a discussion how retail prices tracked with the lower shipping point prices...

Since the farm value is a relatively small component of the retail value of fresh vegetables, price changes at the farm do not always result in a corresponding change at retail.According to the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service’s Market News, advertised retail prices at major supermarket outlets for fresh tomatoes have also dropped in early 2012, by approximately 10 percent. Exceptions are specialty organic heirloom varieties, although the premiums between organic and nonorganic tomatoes have narrowed as tomato volumes increase.

Meanwhile, the USDA ERS notes that mandarin production in California continues to bust new records...

Florida’s production is down 8 percent, due mainly to freeze damage and declining acreage. California continues to be the leading mandarin producer with a 4-percent larger crop this season. At 412,000 tons, if realized, California’s 2011/12 crop would be the largest harvest on record.

The USDA also issued an interirm final rule relating to collection of information about pricing of school lunches.

The USDA's National Retail Report for fruits and vegetables is meaty but so darn long I don't know how one gets through it. Here is a helpful excerpt from this week's edition, tho:

The following are the prices of major advertised items (3,000 plus stores) this week compared to the same week last year. Fruit items that increased in price were nectarines at 16%, navel oranges (per lb) at 13%, cantaloups at 8%, and strawberries (1 lb pkg) at 6%. Fruit that decreased were white seedless grapes at 9%, red seedless grapes and pineapples both at 7%, and Red Delicious apples (per lb) at 6%. Yellow sweet onions (per lb) increased 14%. and yellow onions (3 lb bag) decreased 10%. Increases in vegetable include round green beans at 10% and corn at 5%. Vegetables that decreased included cucumbers at 27%, green peppers (each) at 26%, mixed salad (10-12 oz pkg) at 21%, celery at 18%, zucchini squash at 11%, sweet potatoes and vine ripe tomatoes both at 8%.