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yUSDA'S REPORT TOCQNS UME4
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF ON WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1973 NO. 117
iv NIL 1914
FOOD IS .
More Than Just Something To E ; ng right? About
50 of the people in the U.S. -- hat their incomes
-- are not. Diets of the other 50 range from only fair to
good. It's a fact that a society that has the greatest food
production and distribution system in history also has pro-
duced millions of people who suffer the often subtle, but
health-destroying effects of poor nutrition. Whether through
apathy or lack of knowledge about nutrition, many Americans
just are not eating properly. Concern over this fact is the
basis for a joint government-industry nutrition education cam-
paign initiated in December. The nationwide campaign, being
promoted as a public service by the Advertising Council, is
sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. De-
partment of Health, Education and Welfare, the National Academy
of Sciences, and the Grocery Manufacturers of America. A key
part of the program is a 32-page booklet entitled "Food Is
More Than Just Something To Eat" -- the slogan of the campaign.
This booklet gives information in readable language and attract-
ive color illustrations on the nutritive contents of foods,
which ones are the best sources of various nutrients, and how
to combine them into a healthful, balanced diet. It explains
some facts of life such as what a child eats affects the way
he grows and develops, what a young girl eats today may have
an effect on the kind of pregnancy she will have years from now,
what a person eats at any age can affect the length and quality
of his life. Single free copies of the booklet can be requested
by writing NUTRITION, PUEBLO, COLORADO 81009. Copies are not
available free in bulk, however, information on purchasing quan-
tities is available from George W. Hayden, Advertising Council,
825 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022; telephone 212-758-0400.
No Wonder They Rose. Looking for a clear explanation of why food
prices jumped this year? The November issue of USDA's National Food
Situation contains one, entitled, "1973 in Perspective." It explains
the joint effects on prices of smaller food supplies, soaring foreign
demand, a superheated economy, dollar devaluation, and shifting econ-
omic programs. Copies are available on request from Economic Research
Service, Information Division, USDA, Washington, D.C. 20250.
WINTER FOOD PREVIEW
Food prices may increase modestly this winter after leveling out in the fall.
Barring renewed world food shortages or a serious pinch in fuel, food should be
more abundant and price increases much smaller in 1974.
Seasonal supply increases beginning in September brought more meat into the market
and lower prices for beef, pork, eggs, chicken, and fresh vegetables. The price
declines kept fall food prices at about the same level as summer prices. So, for
all of 1973, economists calculate retail food prices will average about 14 percent
higher than in 1972.
Winter beef prices will be up somewhat from fall, but still below the levels of
last summer. Less beef for winter is the result of a cutback in the number of
young cattle brought into feeding lots last spring and summer because of high
costs and the effects of retail price ceilings. A backlog of young cattle going
into feed lots this fall and winter will increase beef supplies by late spring.
There will be less pork and lamb available this winter, but chicken supplies will
remain about the same. Prices of all will be up some. After winter, chicken sup-
plies will get a moderate boost, pork supplies will hold steady, and lamb will con-
tinue in tighter supply following a long decline in sheep numbers.
You will likely see progressively lower egg prices this winter. After a prolonged
cutback caused by high costs and controls, poultrymen are gearing up for a lot
Americans ate less turkey this Thanksgiving when faced with retail prices well
above a year ago. But those higher prices are likely to bring out a big increase
in turkey production throughout next year -- accompanied by lower prices.
Unlike most other livestock-related food products, milk production is not likely
to recover in 1974. Many dairy farmers quit production this year, faced with in-
creased costs, shortage of farm help, and better alternative opportunities. Larger
imports of cheese, butter, and dry milk helped maintain domestic supplies in 1973.
But with fewer cows left, milk output is sagging and those gradual increases in
milk and dairy products prices will likely continue next year.
Consumers are buying fish despite record prices. Frozen fish fillets -- cod,
flounder, ocean perch, and haddock -- were relatively abundant at last count and
good stocks of canned sardines and tuna have limited price rises. But frozen fish
sticks, frozen fish portions, and shrimp, not to mention canned salmon, are in
tight supply due to declines in imports and catches and increased consumer demand.
As cold weather drives fresh vegetable crops south in the winter, many migrate to
Mexico. So, you will get Mexican tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplants to
supplement Florida and California produce. Although some seasonal price increases
can be expected this winter, retail fresh vegetable prices may average close to
those of last winter.
Dry beans and peas have been caught in the crossfire of world protein shortages and
their prices have zoomed on world markets. In the supermarkets, bean and pea
prices are already double or triple the prices of a year ago and little decrease
is expected before next fall.
Despite a large onion crop, prices are moving up again as exports to Japan in-
creased sharply this season. Potato rice dropped briefly in early fall, but
prices will rise again during the winter months. The crop was one of the smallest
in recent years. More than half of our potatoes, by the way, are processed to be-
come frozen fries, flakes, chips, and other food forms.
Along the canned food shelves and frozen food aisles, prices rose this year, but
only a third of the average for all grocery foods. Further price rises in canned
and frozen vegetables may be expected: Supplies for the balance of this marketing
season are about the same or slightly less than the relatively tight supplies on
hand a year ago.
Citrus is a good bet for fruit shoppers. Winter is peak harvest time, and we have
another large crop -- though it is expected to be slightly below last year's record
harvest. The orange crop is a little smaller than last year's and prices may be a
little higher than last winter for fresh oranges and fresh chilled juice. Frozen
orange juice will remain an excellent buy. Fresh grapefruit will go down in price
seasonally this winter. However, with a smaller Arizona crop this year, lemons
are more costly. Processing takes half of our lemons, nearly three-fifths of our
grapefruit, and four-fifths of the oranges.
Noncitrus fruit supplies are much more abundant than a year ago, thanks in large
part to grapes: After a disastrous crop failure last year, grape production in-
creases this season account for about half of the supply advances. Apples and
fresh winter pears are features for this winter also. Strong consumer demand for
noncitrus fruits, though, is keeping prices somewhat higher than a year ago.
CURRENT IN THE NEWS
Electricity And The Energy Crisis. Electricity is such a common item in our lives
that we take it for granted the light will come on at the flip of a switch and the
water will be hot at the turn of a faucet. It is shocking to realize there is a
possibility electric power many not be ours to command with such ease. And there
are those bills that must be paid: The one paid in cash each month and the one
paid in natural resources used to produce electric power. "How To Save On Your
Electric Bill," a publication from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, of-
fers some common sense tips on how to use electricity more efficiently in your
home -- and cut the cost of both bills. The 20-page, illustrated booklet includes
sections on air conditioning, home heating, hot water, laundry, small and large
appliances, lighting, and other users of electricity. Single free copies of "How
To Save On Your Electric Bill," (CES 512) are available from the Virginia Cooper-
ative Extension Service, Mail Room, Hutcheson Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University (VPI&SU), Blacksburg, Va. 24061. Bulk orders may be purchased
from the Virginia Farm and Home Electrification Council, VPI&SU, Blacksburg, Va.
24061. Information on price can be obtained from that address or by calling
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
11111IU II II I I I I I l 11111 IIIIf I II l U 1111 l 1111 l iii
OUTLOOK SOONER 3 1262 08740 1054
Conference Set For December. Housing, energy, clothing and textiles, and food will
be among the consumer topics discussed during the Family Living Sessions of the
National Agricultural Outlook Conference. The conference is being held in Wash-
ington, D.C., Dec. 17, 18, and 19 -- two months earlier than usual -- to give far-
mers and farm suppliers more time to plan for the 1974 food production. The annual
event is sponsored by the Economic Research Service, Extension Service, and the
Agricultural Research Service and brings together Extension specialists and econ-
omists from government, business, and the universities for a look at food produc-
tion, marketing, the general economy, agribusiness, and family economics in the
coming year. Sessions are open to the public and there is no registration fee.
CHARTING AGRICULTURE'S STORY
Pick A Table And Pull Up A Chart. The 1973 Handbook of Agricultural Charts is now
off the press. This reference book contains 186 charts -- most with supporting
tables -- depicting what's happening in the general economy, the farm commodity
scene, foreign agricultural trade, marketing, farm population, and family levels of
living. The year's edition has an expanded rural development section and a new
section on women. The handbook is especially helpful to economists and businessmen
in determining trends. Teachers and program leaders will find the handbook, plus
color slides and black and white prints of the charts, useful in classroom, con-
ference and meeting presentations. Single copies of the 1973 Handbook of Agricul-
tural Charts (AH-455) are free from the Office of Communication, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. The color slides are 25 cents each or $25
for a complete set of 184 frames. The black and white prints are 8x10 glossies
and sell for $2.40 each. The visual materials can be ordered from the Photography
Division, Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Rest In Pieces. USDA food economists regretfully anticipate the passing of a faith-
ful friend, the 10-cent candy bar. The bar became popular in 1968 as the 5-cent
bar went into decline. Since then, the 10-center has served dutifully as an in-
expensive source of quick energy and gooey pleasure, fitting into the budget of
even the most modest allowance. It was in relatively good health until this year
when it suffered successive attacks of costly cocoa, spiralling sugar prices, high-
priced peanuts, and the enlargement of its manufacturing bill. As the 10-cent bar
is forced into retirement, the 15-cent bar is already on the way as next year's
standard snack replacement.
SERVICE is a monthly newsletter of consumer interest. It is designed for those
who report to the individual consumer rather than for mass distribution. For
information about items in this issue, write: Lillie Vincent, Editor of SERVICE,
Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
Telephone (202) 447-5437.
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