“SNAP is essential in protecting the most vulnerable citizens during tough times, but we need to have a complete understanding of its mission and purpose.” That was the message from House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway this week as the committee began its top-to-bottom review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps.
Subcommittee Reviews Food Aid and Agricultural Trade Programs
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing to review food aid and agriculture trade programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Congressman Mike McIntyre of North Carolina is Chairman of the Subcommittee.
Title III of the 2002 Farm Bill authorizes programs that provide food aid and that help promote U.S. agricultural products in overseas markets. Many of these programs expire in September and will have to be reauthorized as part of a new Farm Bill. The Subcommittee heard testimony about these programs from four panels of witnesses, including representatives from USDA and USAID as well as from U.S. Representatives James P. McGovern of Massachusetts and Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri.
"This hearing provided this Subcommittee an opportunity to take a look at the title of the Farm Bill that contains food aid and agricultural trade programs," said Chairman McIntyre. "The foundation laid for the last 50 years with food aid programs has made the United States the largest contributor of international food aid, literally saving lives across the globe. Still, hundreds of millions go hungry every year and we should determine where changes are needed to ensure that our food aid programs work as designed. This hearing also addressed the need for greater efforts to address declining global market share for our agricultural producers and value-added businesses that want to compete on a level playing field in the world marketplace."
"The United States is the largest contributor of food aid in the world, providing humanitarian and development assistance through a variety of programs. Yesterday's hearing provided us with the background information we'll need to streamline and improve food aid and agriculture trade programs as we move forward with the next farm bill," said Subcommittee Ranking Member Marilyn Musgrave.
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.
. The Honorable James P. McGovern, Member of Congress from Massachusetts . The Honorable Jo Ann Emerson, Member of Congress from Missouri
. Administrator Michael Yost, Foreign Agriculture Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
. Mr. William Hammink, Director, Office of Food for Peace, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C.
. Ms. Ellen Levinson, Executive Director, Alliance for Food Aid, Washington, D.C.
. Ms. Annemarie Reilly, Vice President and Chief of Staff, Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, Maryland . Mr. John Gillcrist, Chairman, Bartlett Milling Company, on behalf of the Agricultural Food Aid Coalition, Kansas City, Missouri . Mr. Cary Wickstrom, Wheat Producer, Orchard, Colorado . Mr. Robert Binversie, Volunteer, Farmer-to-Farmer, Kiel, Wisconsin
. Mr. James Sumner, President, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, on behalf of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, Stone Mountain, Georgia . Mr. Patrick Ford, Ford's Gourmet Foods, Raleigh, North Carolina