The federal government's food storage program, reaped in large measure from its subsidies and loan programs to farmers, has taken a lot of heat over the years from those who accuse the government of favoring farmers and throwing away money needlessly.

Yet, in a time of drought, these stores of grain are golden.Who hasn't seen or heard of government grain elevators overflowing with wheat, corn, oats, barley and other commodities? The government's giant convoy of ships, filled with wheat and grain and anchored in the Hudson River, is a tourist attraction.

William C. Bailey, of the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, said that when the price of grain increases alarmingly, the government puts grain from its storage facilities on the open market, thus keeping the price of grain from skyrocketing.

The price of grain cannot exceed reasonable limits because of the country's storage program, federal officials say.

How much is stored in government warehouses and silos? Federal officials in Washington, D.C., told the Deseret News Wednesday they have 2.2 billion bushels of grain stored. That's about 10 bushels of grain for every person in the nation.

The federal government has stored 12 million bushels of corn, wheat and other grain in Utah.

Bailey also said there is so much surplus grain in storage and so much grain expected to be harvested this year - despite the drought - that there will be no diminishment of America's grain exports abroad, which are traveling to new and expanded markets this year.