US bakers march over failing wheat supplies
15 February, 2008
The American Bakers Association (ABA) is calling on all US bakers to descend on Washington in protest against critically low wheat reserves.
"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures," said ABA president and CEO Robb MacKie.With "critically" low reserves and severe conditions in the wheat markets, ABA is demanding that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress take action.On March 12, ABA is arranging for the "band of bakers" to meet with newly confirmed agriculture secretary Ed Schafer and senior White House officials, the association revealed in a statement last Friday."ABA has repeatedly urged the White House, USDA and Congress to provide meaningful relief to alleviate the growing wheat crisis," added MacKie. "Unfortunately those calls have gone unheeded. Now is the time for all bakers, from all organisations, to join ABA in coming to Washington to deliver this important message personally." The association is to ask Congress to reassess the recent "infatuation" with ethanol production, it said, as the recently passed Energy Act calls for even higher ethanol production targets in coming years."We alerted USDA a year ago that wheat was going to be in short supply, and now three of the five wheat categories are extremely short," said MacKie. "This is raising such serious domestic food security issues that ABA is requesting that USDA curtail wheat exports until bakers and other domestic users are guaranteed the supplies they need. Other countries are stockpiling their strategic grain reserves."