U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-Ark), Ranking Member, have urged USDA to use its authorities under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to support opportunities for U.S. farmers.
In a letter to the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Stabenow and Boozman highlighted the need to invest in trade promotion and in-kind international food assistance, both of which support American farmers and producers.
Good for U.S. Farmers
“As Congress works toward reauthorizing critical programs in the Farm Bill, we continue to hear from organizations representing the vast majority of U.S. agriculture about the need to strengthen trade opportunities, increase revenue streams, and help producers grow and thrive in a global economy,” the Senators wrote. “We believe that resources available under the CCC can support similar efforts to open access to markets and promote American-grown products abroad.”
“The letter is intended to convey the strong, bipartisan support for additional market promotion funding but also reflects the challenge of identifying new funding resources for a broader Farm Bill reauthorization,” said Tyson Redpath with The Russell Group, a bipartisan government relations firm that represents the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Trade, in which U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is a member.
“There is also bipartisan support for critical U.S. Department of Agriculture international food assistance programs,” the Senators continued. “We urge you to explore using CCC resources to advance food assistance initiatives, which will both address humanitarian needs abroad and support American farmers.”
Good for Importers of U.S. Wheat
“We were quite pleased to see the leaders release their letter to Secretary Vilsack,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Our friends at the National Association of Wheat Growers are strong advocates in Congress for increased export market development program funding. And the use of CCC funds to enhance both export marketing activities and food aid programs would be to the great benefit of U.S. agriculture and the overseas wheat buyers with whom we work.”
This request from the Chairwoman and Ranking Member comes as the Committee continues working to develop a Farm Bill this year. The full text of the letter can be found here.