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USDA programs cover the essentials

The federal Ag Department’s programs address the fundamental goods and services that humans need to survive. Water, food, housing, electricity and more are all part of the department’s portfolio. A book that we have recently read, No Small Hope: Towards the Universal Provision of Basic Goods by Kenneth Reinert, makes the argument that there is a minimal set of basic goods and services that should be put into the hands of everyone in the world. Reinert is professor of public policy and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Reinert brings a wealth of experience to his analysis, having served as senior economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission and consultant for the World Trade Organization, the OECD Development Organization, the World Bank, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Reinert argues that the minimal set of basic goods and services that should be available to every person in the world includes “nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, health services, education services, housing, electricity, and human security services.” Looking at that list, one cannot help but notice that some aspect of most of these basic goods and services is part of the work of the United States Department of Agriculture. Even as we wrestle with the provisions of our own farm bill and its impact on farm profitability, we cannot afford to ignore the challenges facing farmers around the globe—most of the world’s hungry live in rural areas. 

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Daily Yonder