Lincoln Statement on USDA Food Security Report Arkansas Now Ranked as Having Third Highest Rate of Hunger in the U.S.

Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued the following statement today in response to the release of the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2008 Food Security Report. The report showed that 14.6 percent of U.S. households struggled to provide enough food to feed their families during certain times of the year in 2008, a significant increase over the rate of 11.1 percent in 2007. This is an increase of nearly 13 million individuals over just a one year period, from 36.2 million in 2007 to 49.1 million in 2008.

“The 2008 food insecurity report released today by the United States Department of Agriculture is a sobering reminder that there are tens of millions of Americans struggling through one of the worst economic recessions in recent memory. My home state of Arkansas has been especially hard hit and now has the third highest rate of hunger in the country. The unprecedented increase in the number of Americans experiencing hunger or at risk of hunger underscores the critical importance of federal food assistance programs and the need for Congress to undertake the reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs with a strong focus on increasing program access and improving nutritional quality. Tomorrow the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of child nutrition programs, which remains one of the Committee’s top legislative priorities.”