USDA let millions of pounds of food rot while food-bank demand soared


You know, I always cringed when I heard Ronald Reagan’s small government mantra, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Reagan was referring to the belief (often held by conservative voters in the United States), that the government, in general, is incredibly inefficient in everything they do. Sometimes to such a degree that their attempts to help end up actively harming instead. It was a cynical call out to his base, red meat in today’s parlance, not taking into account all the good things government and government programs (are you still on Medicare and cashing those Social Security payments, Red-Staters? Yes, I’m talking to you!)

As E.J. Dionne wrote last year in The Washington Post, “…In truth, the whole antigovernment thing is fundamentally fraudulent. So is the conservative claim to believe passionately in states’ rights and local authority. In practice, conservatives regularly vote for lots of government — so long as it serves the interests they represent.”

In that column, Dionne also reminded readers that Reagan had another famous line about big government, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Guess what? With Trump and his “Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight,” I finally can get behind something Saint Ronald said.

The current “crisis,” the Coronavirus Pandemic, is fueling all kinds of examples that “government” (or at least Trump’s government) is the problem.

Politico published an article today headlined, “USDA let millions of pounds of food rot while food-bank demand soared.” The sub-head cogently sums up the piece, “State officials and growers say Trump’s Agriculture Department has been woefully slow to respond to farm crisis caused by coronavirus.”

Here’s a link to the Politico article so you can read it and weep. (

Some quotes:

Tens of millions of pounds of American-grown produce is rotting in fields as food banks across the country scramble to meet a massive surge in demand, a two-pronged disaster that has deprived farmers of billions of dollars in revenue while millions of newly jobless Americans struggle to feed their families.

While other federal agencies quickly adapted their programs to the coronavirus crisis, the Agriculture Department took more than a month to make its first significant move to buy up surplus fruits and vegetables — despite repeated entreaties.

The Agriculture Department said it has moved expeditiously to respond to the crisis. And here’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s response to Politico:

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“USDA is committed to maximizing our services and flexibilities to ensure children and others who need food can get it during this coronavirus epidemic,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement to POLITICO. “This is a challenging time for many Americans, but it is reassuring to see President Trump and our fellow Americans stepping up to the challenges facing us to make sure kids and those facing hunger are fed.”

Allow me, if you will, to parse Perdue’s statement:

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And may I say, thank you Mr. President for your outstanding leadership during this national emergency. I don’t know how we’d get through this crisis without your incredible direction and guidance.

Do you think the other Perdue, Frank, would have done a better job?

Frank Perdue (RIP)

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

6 thoughts on “USDA let millions of pounds of food rot while food-bank demand soared

  1. With the resources that the United States has, it is an absolute failure of management that food is rotting away in the fields. Unless the Federal Government means for the people to die! My children in New York City are relying on a farm in upstate NY to send them fresh produce, fruits, cheese, poultry, and meats. Here in Delray Beach, friends of mine go to a farm in Boynton Beach on Lantana Road. They line up early in the morning and for $10 they get a box full of fresh vegetables and fruits. For another $5, you can get a whole watermelon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, in our vernacular, a “Shanda” and just another example of the ineptitude of not government in general, but this government specifically. It is the result of Trump’s picks of unqualified cronies to run the departments, bureaus and agencies critically important to the nation’s well-being in times like this. Criminal…another day, another outrage!


  2. Thank you Mr. President for your unbelievable, judicious leadership….we owe you our thanks , devotion and of course adulation for the remarkable person you are… do you think you might go seek some psychiatric support, resign and let somebody take over while there’s still enough of a country left to salvage……this spectacle is painful to watch! And to think the manufacturers of Lysol had to issue a caveat not to drink it…..!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, brother! If there’s any good news coming out “Disinfectantgate” it’s that there was no Coronavirus Rally yesterday, there’s none scheduled today and there might be a hold on them going forward. Of course, the unintended (bad) consequence of no rallies is that he won’t be speaking…every time he holds one of these televised clusterfucks, his approval ratings go down. Guess we’ll just have to rely on his hideous and idiotic tweets.


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