KRVN: SEN. MORAN SEES CONSEQUENCES OF HISTORIC WHEAT HARVEST FIRSTHAND, CALLS ON USDA AND USAID

August 12, 2016

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee – called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith today to prioritize donations of wheat in U.S. food aid to reduce food insecurity across the globe and the oversupply of wheat that is contributing to low prices.
“As I’ve been traveling across Kansas, I’ve witnessed the historic wheat harvest, surplus of high-quality wheat and resulting low wheat prices,” Sen. Moran said. “I’m hopeful we can utilize the current abundance of wheat stocks to provide even greater assistance to those in need to reduce food insecurity and support wheat farmers in Kansas and across the country.”

The Senate Fiscal Year 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill supports food aid by providing additional funding for the Food for Peace program and maintaining elevated funding levels for the McGovern-Dole Food For Education Program.

The text of the letter is below and available here.

Dear Secretary Vilsack and Administrator Smith:

Thank you for your leadership in administering our nation’s food aid programs. The United States leads the world in the fight against global hunger, contributing nearly half of all in-kind donations to food insecure nations. Our country’s food aid programs embody the inherent generosity of the American people.

The U.S. wheat industry has a long and successful history of partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and private humanitarian organizations in helping to reduce global hunger. Wheat is the most consumed commodity worldwide, making up 20 percent of the calories and 20 percent of the protein consumed by the world’s poorest. Approximately 600,000 metric tons of wheat were donated through U.S. food aid during the most recent marketing year.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 directly supported U.S. food aid efforts by providing a significant increase in funding for the delivery of food aid to populations in need. The Senate FY2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill continues our strong support for food aid by providing additional funding for the Food for Peace program and maintaining elevated funding levels for the McGovern-Dole Food For Education Program.

Following a historic wheat harvest in Kansas and other states, there is a surplus of high quality wheat available on the market. The current abundance of wheat stocks offers an opportunity to provide even greater assistance to those in need through increased shipments of wheat. During the procurement process for in-kind commodity donations in the future, I encourage you to prioritize the utilization of wheat to help those in need.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and once again, for your leadership in making U.S. food aid a source of pride for Americans.

Yours truly,

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