THE development of a well-integrated, all-out wartime food program for this country has come slowly, but it is now. taking shape as a significant part of the whole war effort. It has come slowly for various reasons. Our food supplies have always been abundant in comparison with those of most other nations. Though many of our people have been undernourished because of inadequate incomes, we had been accustomed to think in terms of agricultural surpluses rather than deficits. We knew that agriculture had the capacity for a further expansion of output. The quantities required for military and lend-lease purposes in 1940 and 1941 were relatively small. They were more than offset by the actual increases in production that took place under the stimulus of rising prices and the favorable weather conditions that happened to prevail. The amount of food available for civilian consumption in those years was greater than we had had before. Facilities and materials for processing, transportation, and distribution were generally adequate to maintain the flow of food products to consumers. Consequently the conscious planning efforts that were made during that period were limited in scope and were directed for the most part to the procurement of particular products in the specific forms that were needed for military or lendlease use. Now the situation is completely changed. Food production has been at the highest level ever attained, but the needs of our armed forces and our allies have also increased greatly and are bound to increase further, while on the supply side a falling-off of output will prove extremely difficult to avert. Shortages of labor, machinery, and fertilizer seriously threaten the maintenance of farm production. Shortages of steel, tin, and rubber restrict processing operations and transportation. Prices are frozen and can no longer be used as the means of bringing about desired adjustments. Nor can prices be depended on to bring about an acceptable distribution of the limited supplies that are available. Unofficial estimates of civilian food consumption in 1943, necessarily very tentative in character, are given in Table 1, together with percentage comparisons based on consumption levels in the five-year period from 1935 to 1939 and in the years 1941 and 1942.

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