Opening Statement: Republican Leader Dusty Johnson Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing: "A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: International Trade and Food Assistance Programs"
Washington, April 6, 2022
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to each panel of witnesses before us.
While I was not here during the development and passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, I know my colleagues worked hard to make certain Title III worked for producers, consumers, and those in need around the world, all while preserving a longstanding alliance of domestic supporters of these programs here at home. However, I am not naïve to the fact that further modifications may be needed, especially when we review these programs amid a pandemic, ongoing conflict, and weather-related disasters.
But the fact of the matter is the 2018 Farm Bill continued our important role in international food aid and agriculture development., and I expect the U.S. to act aggressively on both fronts, to ensure communities in crisis have access to food and our producers have a platform to promote their yields.
The food we deliver and development activities we promote are critical tools that feed people, build agricultural capacity, and foster goodwill between the United States and our friends around the world.
I think we can all agree our food aid programs are yet another great example of a public-private partnership. USAID and USDA team up with U.S. farmers and implementing partners to ensure people all over the world benefit from a safe and abundant supply of U.S. commodities and other supports.
However, the war in Ukraine is adding stress to both an already fragile supply chain and damaging inflationary shocks. We are fastly approaching a global food crisis sure to rival that had in 2007 and 2008. And while there still is a lot of uncertainty, I hope to hear about near-term solutions that might just avoid such a drastic outcome.
To start, I am pleased to hear USAID will trigger the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, however I do have concerns at the length of time it takes for commodities to enter the pipeline—can these countries wait until the fall? I hope Ms. Charles can further educate us on that process.
Before I close, I must again reiterate how important it is for this Administration to prioritize trade, our trading relationships, and our trade promotion programs. It can do so through swift nominations of a Chief Agriculture Negotiator and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. Each position is uniquely qualified to enhance our relationships, create new opportunities, expand our footprint, and benefit our producers.
Trade plays an infinitely important role in our agricultural economy, and it is imperative we see a more ambitious trade agenda from this Administration.
With that, thank you again to each of our witnesses, I yield back.