The Farm Bill is a vital tool that not only affects agriculture in the United States but plays a major role in fighting hunger and malnutrition abroad.
As Congress works to renew the Farm Bill, I urge you to support its reauthorization and robust funding. International food aid programs of the Farm Bill authorizes three major programs that help the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reach tens of millions of people each year in more than 120 countries and territories through:
1) Food for Peace Title II (“Food for Peace”)
Through Food for Peace, the U.N. World Food Programme receives U.S. agricultural commodities like rice, corn, wheat and soybeans. The U.N. World Food Programme then delivers these commodities to people experiencing severe hunger around the world. Since its launch in 1954, over 4 billion people have benefited from food assistance through Food for Peace.
2) McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (“McGovern-Dole”)
Through McGovern-Dole, the U.N. World Food Programme implements many of its school meals programs overseas. These school meals:
— improve children’s, especially young girls’, access to education.
— increase school enrollment and retention rates.
— boost children’s health and nutrition, which allows them to focus on their studies.
School meals help break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Since its inception in 2002, the McGovern-Dole program has provided over 5.5 billion school meals to 31 million schoolchildren in 48 countries, using American-grown crops.
3) Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT)
In 2022, when the world faced an unprecedented hunger catastrophe, the BEHT—designed as a funding source of last resort—was released to respond to food security needs in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen. BEHT funds covered the cost of providing more than 480,000 metric tons of wheat, sorghum, split peas, lentils and specialized nutritious foods to people experiencing acute hunger.
The BEHT account is now depleted, and the Farm Bill provides an opportunity to restore BEHT to sufficient funding levels and develop a streamlined trigger for its future use. The international food assistance programs administered by the U.S. government are a safety net for the world’s most vulnerable people. BEHT, in turn, is a safety net for those systems.
The U.S. has a long legacy of leading the global fight against hunger, and the Farm Bill is one of the most important ways to continue this legacy. Support for the 2023 Farm Bill and its international food aid programs will save millions of lives and reduce hunger and instability across the world. That is why I’m asking you — my Member of Congress — to support the reauthorization of the 2023 Farm Bill and robust funding for international programs, including Food for Peace, the McGovern-Dole Program and the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.