Senate Ag Committee is about to start work on this year’s Farm Bill

It is almost time for writing to begin on this year’s Farm Bill.

Senate Ag Committee staffers are starting to sift through requests from nearly 100 senators, detailing what they would like to see, and they are currently figuring out which ones to tackle first. They say there are several internal deadlines that need to be met before the Farm Bill deadline on September 30th. Leaders on the House Ag Committee warn there will not be as many committee hearings coming up as they are working hard to get the Bill passed.

This year’s Bill includes a section for food aid, and the U.S. Wheat Associates wants to ensure the crop does not lose its place in food aid donations.

“What we’ve seen over kind of the life of these international food assistance programs is a shift from what used to be about 100 percent donated U.S. commodity to commodities to those in need. And now we’ve kind of chipped away over a series of barbells. And now it’s really a bigger focus on donating cash, donating vouchers for local food production, sourcing commodities from foreign agriculture competitors, and that’s obviously a huge concern to U.S. Wheat Associates, it really removes U.S. agriculture from the equation in these programs and is something that we don’t like to see. We think that the best way to provide this type of assistance is by directly providing food to those in need.”

The International Food Aid Program donates surplus commodities to other countries that have hunger issues. The U.S. is one of the only countries that incorporates food instead of cash into the program.