WASHINGTON, DC — Since joining the U.S. Senate in 2010, Jerry Moran (R-K) has actively worked to support agriculture development as a means of fighting hunger and poverty in developing countries.
In August, Moran called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith to prioritize donations of wheat in U.S. food aid. This prioritization will hopefully reduce the impact of the food crisis on vulnerable populations worldwide and the surplus of wheat resulting low prices.
According to Moran, the U.S. donated approximately 600,000 metric tons of wheat to the world’s poorest during the most recent marketing year. Wheat is one of the most important nutritional sources of those in need, making up 20 percent of the calories and 20 percent of the protein.
“I’m hopeful we can utilize the current abundance of wheat stocks to provide even greater assistance to those in need to reduce food insecurity and support wheat farmers in Kansas and across the country,” Moran said.
A Kansas native, Moran understands the value of investing in agricultural development as a sustainable approach to ending hunger and bringing small farm holders economic vitality. Prior to his election to the Senate, then-Congressman Moran focused on domestic poverty in rural communities, investing in agriculture research, food safety technology and the implementation of two Farm Bills.
The Senator carried on with his efforts achieving domestic and global food security after he became a member of the U.S. Senate. As a change agent, Moran has strived to bridge the gap between grassroots efforts and national public policy to provide foreign agricultural development assistance for the developing countries worldwide.
In 2004, Sen. Moran cofounded the bipartisan Senate Hunger Caucus, hoping to use collective action to achieve food security. The mission of this bipartisan effort is to prioritize food security as a topic of central importance to progress toward a world where undernutrition, hunger and poverty are no longer barriers to global economic growth.
As the Co-Chair of the Caucus, Moran supported the Food for Peace (PL480) program which delivers food aid, helps people recover from crises and supports nutrition and development in impoverished countries. Farmers in the U.S. can also benefit from the competitive agricultural commodity contracts offered by USDA in this process.
As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Moran pushed for strong support for food aid by providing additional funding for the Food for Peace program. He also co-sponsored Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567) which promotes global food security, resilience and nutrition.
In addition, the Senator also believes that the government needs to foster educational dialogue that would explore agriculture’s capacity to be an essential part of the solution. He attended many non-partisan educational briefings as their guest speaker and introduced global food security issues to members of Congress.
“Our country’s food aid programs embody the inherent generosity of the American people,” said Moran.
In recent years, the proportion of U.S. development assistance for agriculture has declined from 25 percent of total development assistance in 1980 to less than one percent after 2008, losing in the battle to other foreign aid priorities.
The Senator’s call for more wheat in developing countries was indeed a reminder to all of us, that the U.S. must continue providing food aid to address global food insecurity.
Senator Jerry Moran received the 2011 Bill Emerson & Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Award for his work on the House and Senate Hunger Caucuses and for supporting domestic and international food security programs.
– Yvie Yao