|USA Rice Opposed to Changes in Food for Peace Program|
WASHINGTON -- (April 5, 2013) -- The USA Rice Federation has been actively advocating for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities, including rice, through the Food for Peace program. USA Rice, along with a diverse coalition of agriculture, maritime and non-governmental organizations, sent a letter on March 21 to the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee in opposition to proposed Food for Peace program changes in the president's FY 20124 budget. In addition, the March 21 letter was sent to the House and Senate Agriculture, Appropriations, Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs, and Budget committees. The March 21 letter is similar to those the ag coalition sent on Feb. 21 to the president and to the two leaders of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, rice-state Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
The coalition sent the letter because of concerns the president's FY 2014 budget might propose Food for Peace funding be used in other U.S. food-aid formats that would allow for buying food overseas, instead of in the United States, which is the practice for Food for Peace. The program is important to American farmers and shippers and developing nations around the world, coalition members said.
"Food aid programs have enjoyed strong bipartisan support for nearly 60 years because they work," the letter said. "Our country has the largest and most diverse, reliable, and effective food assistance program in the world. Food for Peace and Food for Progress form the backbone of those efforts."
Food for Peace, also known by the name of its authorizing statute, Public Law 480, authorizes the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities by the U.S. government to meet humanitarian food needs in eligible foreign countries.
USA Rice Federation strongly supports the Food for Peace program.