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by Mike Espy, former USDA Secretary and a former U.S. Representative from Mississippi.

Over the last two years, Americans have grown more accustomed to bare shelves at grocery stores, higher prices at the pump, and delayed deliveries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of virtually every facet of American life. While a novel virus and repeated quarantine added roadblocks to securing the everyday necessities, these disruptions are now compounded by a new challenge: Inflation.

At a 40-year high, inflation is causing increased prices across all sectors of the economy, leaving America's families with less money in their pockets. It is rightly front-and-center in today's policy conversation. But as our nation struggles, policymakers must ground the debate in economic realities and avoid oversimplifying the issue. Our best shot at combating these inflationary challenges and delivering relief to millions of Americans hinges on this.

There's no doubt inflation is complicated. Labor shortages and costs, demand increase, and supply-chain issues all contribute to inflationary pressure in our economy. There is no single driver nor is one industry to blame.

Unfortunately, the White House has pointed the finger at big agriculture, alleging that a handful of companies have used their market power to push up prices, resulting in increased costs for Americans not only at the grocery store, but across the economy.

But this line of attack misses the mark. While examining the effects of industry concentration is always laudable and warranted, we cannot assume it tells the full story. No singular industry can cause economy-wide inflationary pressures. A number of factors are to blame for the rising costs of food, and blaming one industry that happens to be an easy target will only compound the challenge before us.

To view the entire op-ed click here.

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