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Capitol Hill Food for Peace Isn’t Always Peaceful By Kelli Fulkerson A

political battle has been heating up in Washington over Food for Peace (FFP) legislation, leaving concern about a long debate and the possibility of a less than

peaceful outcome. U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons

(D-DE.), members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, introduced legislation in 2014 known as the Food for Peace Reform Act to reform the United States global food assistance programs. T e proposed legislation would entirely change the way aid is delivered and distributed to developing and disaster-stricken countries. T is reform would remove in-kind international food

assistance and move to an entirely cash-based program. In-kind food aid is the sale of food commodities pur- chased, shipped and branded from American producers and processors. “You have a situation where you’re actually selling U.S.

products,” said U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR). “You’ve got shippers, you’ve got farmers, you have a constituency, and it all works together. It is good for the countries in- volved, and it’s good for Americans.” T e proposed legislation has faced signifi cant oppo-

sition from commodity organizations like the National Sorghum Producers, maritime industry representatives, humanitarian organizations and leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. T e proposed changes

would open the door for more fraud and abuse while the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill would be required to be reopened — a move NSP has and will continue to strongly oppose. “If you remove FFP from the Farm Bill, you lose the

framework that was set in place for the whole FFP program,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “T e mission to help starving people and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing United States security and prosperity would be replaced with a quick and easy handout of cash.” If in-kind deliveries were no longer being made

there would be more than just a hungry world popula- tion. T e FFP helps facilitate educational opportunities, promotes global health, protects human rights, supports clean water and helps develop economic growth to name a few. James Born, West Texas sorghum producer and NSP

board chairman, said this proposal completely trans- forms the objective of FFP. “T e Food for Peace Program was created as a grass-

roots initiative for the United States of America to help other countries in times of need,” Born said. “Six gen- erations of American farmers have taken great pride in being able to provide the fruits of their labor to not only save lives but also educate and rebuild local communities. It would be a shame to see this American humanitarian eff ort fall by the wayside.”

The Food for Peace Program (FFP) has been delivering hope to countries in need for over 60 years, reaching more than 3 billion hungry people around the world. FFP was signed into law on July 10, 1954, by President Eisenhower after the second World War. The legislation helped to secure our allies and assured our enemies the fighting was over, all while helping rebuild nations in need. Currently, the U.S. is the single largest food aid donor in the world and supplies more than half of the world’s global food aid efforts.

6 SORGHUM Grower Fall 2015

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