U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, is pushing the Biden administration for answers about how it plans to address the looming global food crisis and support U.S producers’ efforts to meet increasing demand.
In a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack, Boozman stresses that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) international food assistance programs are heavily supported by donated food commodities grown in America. He calls on USDA to develop a plan for the coming food supply shortage leading up to the fall harvest of our spring-planted crops.
“The McGovern-Dole Program has used U.S. agriculture commodities to establish school meal programs and help combat food insecurity among children in developing countries. Monetizing donated commodities like rice, soybeans, and wheat under the Food for Progress Program has helped improve the agriculture sectors and address hunger and malnutrition in these countries. While many of these development programs have aided in reducing global hunger, the emergency we face today outpaces the scope of that work,” Boozman wrote.
Boozman specifically requests “regular written updates on USDA’s efforts no less than every two weeks” on the department’s plans to:
- Ensure U.S. producers have access to necessary resources to meet the increased global demand;
- Work across federal agencies to prepare for the anticipated food shortages from decreased production in Ukraine, record-high production costs, and disrupted supply chains; and
- Engage other federal agencies to ensure a coordinated plan that ensures regulatory actions, such as those pursued by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to animal medicines and crop protection tools for example, will not result in a net decrease in food and commodity yields.
The letter in its entirety can be read here.