June 23, 2023
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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