Americans are blessed with an abundant, safe, and relatively inexpensive supply of food. We rarely consider how food gets to the grocer, except when shelves are bare and supply chain issues are in the headlines. When we do consider food security and agriculture, we may think about issues that impact farmers or, in some cases, our grocery store. However, we don’t often think about the regulations, legislation, and restrictions that impact the activities which bring the food from the farm to the grocery store. When it comes to what’s on our plates, most people are not thinking about logistics and transportation.
Transportation and Food Security
Our food supply chain relies heavily on highway transportation to get products and livestock from farm to processor to packer to wholesale and finally to the retail level. More than 70% of all food is transported via truck in the U.S. and much of it travels extensive miles. This is due to the nature of our food system. To bring high-quality food produce and proteins to consumers year-round requires movement from different regions. For example, it is not possible to grow strawberries year-round in the Midwest like it is in Florida and California. Likewise, coastal areas aren’t in close proximity to finishing yards and meat packers which are primarily located in central states.