U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) joined the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and other agricultural organizations at a June 22 press conference introducing the “American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023,” a bipartisan effort to “keep food in America’s international food aid programs.”
U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS), John Garamendi (CA), Rick Crawford (AR), and Jimmy Panetta (CA) introduced the legislation, which aims to restore the original intent of the Food for Peace program without spending additional Farm Bill resources, all while safeguarding the interests of U.S. farmers.
A fact sheet on the American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 can be found here.
“America’s international food aid programs have enjoyed bipartisan support for more than 65 years because they are simple, effective, and they feed millions of vulnerable people around the world each year,” said Mann. “Through these programs, America fortifies our allies, counters the influence of foreign adversaries, creates new markets and trading partners, and stops wars before they start. For decades, America has purchased and donated American-grown commodities to execute our foreign assistance programs. Over time, however, transferring cash and purchasing commodities from foreign competitors with Food for Peace dollars has become the norm. This shift has diminished transparency and accountability, reduced the procurement and shipment of American-grown food for hungry people, and jeopardized more than six decades of bipartisan support for our international food aid programs. This bill puts a stake in the ground: it’s a noble thing to feed hungry people, and we should use American commodities as we do it.”
USW Director of Trade Policy Peter Laudeman represented USW in the effort to push the legislation forward. Speaking during the press conference, he lauded U.S. wheat farmers for their long history of supporting international food assistance programs.
“American wheat farmers produce some of the best, high quality, nutritious wheat in the world and it has been a tremendous frustration to our members to see their tax dollars supporting purchases of wheat and other commodities from their global competitors in recent years,” Laudeman said. “The reforms in the American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 will ensure that more food gets to more people in need throughout the world, without spending any additional resources. American agriculture has played a critical role in addressing global hunger going back to the beginning of Food for Peace in 1954. We are excited to see this bill restore that role as Congress has always intended.”
“The American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 allows us, American wheat farmers, to share our production and contribute to the fight against global hunger,” said NAWG President and Oregon wheat farmer, Brent Cheyne. “This bipartisan legislation is a crucial step toward renewing the role of American agriculture in fighting global hunger. It demonstrates our commitment to providing food aid to vulnerable populations while supporting our farmers.”
The American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 would restore the emphasis on U.S.-grown commodities to fight global hunger, rather than using American taxpayers’ dollars to purchase food from America’s competitors. It would also restore transparency by reducing overhead costs, preserving resources to purchase life-saving food, and protecting at least 50% of the budget for purchasing U.S.-grown commodities and delivering them to the destination country.
USW Board Member Brian Linin, a Kansas wheat farmer and a member of the Food Aid Working Group, said the measure is important to those who grow wheat.
“This legislation is an opportunity to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent in a manner that truly makes an impact on global hunger,” said Linin. “Commodities produced by U.S. farmers should always be the first choice when it comes to international food aid programs.”