Today, the House Committee on Agriculture held a Full Committee hearing on “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of International Food Aid and Agricultural Development.” On behalf of the wheat industry, Mr. Ron Suppes, a wheat grower from Dighton, KS, testified on food aid and a recent trip to Tanzania where he saw programs that utilized wheat.
“In Tanzania, I saw first-hand how wheat farmers can play a significant role in international food aid programs,” Suppes said. “These programs involve a significant amount of wheat, a fact not lost on farmers with full grain bins and more wheat piled on the ground from last year’s historically high harvest. It is a year when the U.S. needs to be a world leader in helping provide for those in need with these ample supplies.
“Food aid can also generate goodwill with other countries. By encouraging agricultural development in Tanzania, we’re ultimately spurring economic growth, which means Tanzania is more likely to be a stronger trading partner in the future. And the tangible presence of U.S. wheat in that equation is a symbol that cash can’t match.
“U.S. commodities play a key role in helping regions unable to produce wheat and other commodities on their own due to drought, conflict or other circumstances. We have enough surplus that no one should be going hungry.
“I commend the House Committee on Agriculture for recognizing and highlighting the valuable role that the agricultural industry plays in international food aid.”
National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President David Schemm, a wheat grower from Sharon Springs, KS, made the following statement:
“The U.S. is producing enough wheat to meet global demand and still have a surplus. In 2017, USDA projects that global production of wheat will reach an all-time high of 751.3 million metric tons with stockpiles at a record high of 258.3 million tons.
“Wheat can play a significant role in the fight to end hunger. Not only for humanitarian reasons but for global security as well. Even if located on the other side of world, food-insecure nations are prone to enter civil unrest which can impact us right here at home.
“As a wheat farmer from Kansas, I am proud to play a role in helping to feed those who cannot provide for themselves.
For more information about wheat industry policy positions on food aid, visit http://www.wheatworld.org/
Additional panelists at the hearing included Ms. Margaret Schuler, Senior Vice President of the International Programs Group at World Vision; Ms. Navyn Salem, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edesia Nutrition; Mr. Brian W. Schoeneman, Political and Legislative Director of the Seafarers International Union (AFL-CIO), on behalf of USA Maritime; and Dr. Thomas S. Jayne, University Foundation Professor at Michigan State University, on behalf of the Farm Journal Foundation.
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.