Farm Progress

Bill aims to prioritize American food aid

Feed the World Act would limit foreign commodity purchases.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

June 23, 2023

1 Min Read
Lawmakers posing in front of U.S. capitol
Courtesy of Rep. Tracy Mann

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the House on Thursday that would prioritize American made commodities in international food aid programs. The American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 would require USDA’s Feed for Peace program to reserve at least half of its budget for purchasing American grown commodities. Critics contend the department’s international food aid program spends too much money on foreign goods when it could be purchasing domestically produced goods.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Tracey Mann, R- Kan., John Garamendi, D- Calif., Rick Crawford, R- Ark., and Jimmy Panetta, D- Calif.

“American food aid should be produced in America,” Rep. Crawford says. “It is disingenuous to continue to use funds to purchase foreign commodities and call it ‘American aid.’ No one knows the business of feeding the world better than American farmers.”

The bill would require the U.S. Agency for International Development to report program details to Congress. It would also require USDA approval for USAID to consider overriding congressional intent.

More than 50 organizations have endorsed the bill including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the National Sorghum Producers, the North American Millers’ Association, USA Rice and U.S. Wheat Associates.

“We applaud Representatives Mann, Garamendi, Crawford, and Panetta for championing this effort to bolster U.S. international food assistance at zero cost to the American taxpayer,” North American Millers Association senior director of government affairs Kim Cooper says. “These reforms are long overdue and will ensure the longevity of these critical, life-saving programs by restoring them to their roots of being purely in-kind donation programs."

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About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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