Food’s free in the good old U.S.A. But, you get it only if you need help. Now there’s the rub. According to some agricultural forecasts, in about 40 years we’ll all need help getting food, free or otherwise.
Right now 46.7 million Americans get free food if reported income is less than $12000 per year. Under the government free food program, the average qualifying household gets $3500 in free food money via a debit card. Some get more and some less. It depends on income and other needs.
In total, the U.S. Treasury shelled out $80.4 billion in free food money in 2012. It will be more this year partly due to inflation. Additionally, “Uncle Sam” forked over $25.6 billion for other free food programs; such as, Child Nutrition. In total, free food recipients gobbled-up $106 billion in last year’s mega food hand-out.
Where’s all this free food money coming from? The answer is well known … taxpayers. But, who’s producing all that free food? And, how long will freebies last? The answer to the latter question is largely unknown.
Most recipients probably think there’s no end to free food. Right now it’s plentiful, edible, healthful and free. Besides, even if one were forced to pay for food, the cost in America is now relatively low compared with most other countries. Americans spend between 10 to 20% of disposable income on food. It’s as high as 70% in other countries.
Some recipients probably believe free food will never stop coming. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Food crises do occur. Not often, but unexpectedly and severe. According to a study published in Plos One journals, “Global food production by 2050 needs to double to meet the demand of a rising population, shifts in diets, biofuels consumption and food waste.” 
Doubling output within a few decades is a large order for farmers to fill in a relatively short time. The shear magnitude of the challenge seems unattainable. For instance, future spikes in food production costs leading to higher retail prices are of eminent concern, not just for food shortages, but starvation and death in certain parts of the world.
There are other studies that predict a world wide food famine in less than 40 years. These predictions are not scare tactics to sell emergency food supplies. The forecasts come from agricultural scientists based on statistical evidence that global crop yields are not big enough to meet future world demand, despite gains in farm productivity.
Additional claims of possible food shortages anticipate break-downs in food delivery systems due to major disasters, such as, drought, earthquake, oil crisis, hyperinflation, economic conditions, terrorism, and other unpredictable events. A failure in any of these logistic components could trigger sizeable food shortages.
There are 2.2 million farms in the United States. That’s not really a lot to feed a population of over 315 million. Approximately 87% of those 2.2 million farms are private, small family farms, and only 12.2% of their income relies on farming. Consequently, if family farms were singly relied upon for government free food programs, shortages would be certain.
America’s adequate food supply, therefore, depends on approximately 290 thousand large farms. Ownership of these farms, as a percentage of all farms, breaks down as follows: Partnerships (8%), “Corporate farms (4%) and Cooperatives (1%). They produce huge quantities of food enabled by the use of large scale, capital intensive land and farm equipment, coupled with advanced agronomical sciences and highly efficient agricultural practices.
However, these large farms claim their expansion in food output is stymied by federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations. However, the EPA says, “It works with farmers when developing regulations to find a balance between fulfilling its mission and being burdensome to agriculture.”
In any case, regulatory challenges to farm production are: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupation Safety and Health Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and numerous Conservation Acts.
If all these federal regulations went away, would that prevent future food shortage? Not likely.
Therefore, considering all the possible risks of food shortages, one might reckon: Buying a farm may not be a bad idea.
Thanks for reading
 Government food stamps in one form or another existed since 1939.
 Cornell University study finds half of food produced in the United States is wasted by consumers, in the process of manufacturing and food distribution.
 Articles in Solutions from Science, Thomson, IL and The Tribulation Institute, Dust Bowl Coming to America.
 USDA data.
 Archer Daniels Midland bills itself as “Supermarket of the world.” Monsanto and Cargill are other big players in food production and distribution.