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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

House Ag Committee Pushes Back on Administration Efforts to Gut Food Aid Programs

June 24, 2015
In The News

WASHINGTON, DC -- (June 24, 2015) -- The House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing today with Phil Karsting, Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Thomas Staal, Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID to review international food aid programs in light of controversial efforts to reform the programs by the Obama Administration and some Members of Congress.

USA Rice has been working in conjunction with a coalition of leading U.S. agricultural commodity groups to oppose the Food for Peace Reform Act and the Administration's proposal that will result in in-kind food aid programs being replaced with cash vouchers and the local and regional purchase (LRP) of food.

In-kind food aid, or the donation of commodities to countries facing food insecurity, hunger, malnutrition, and civil conflict, has been a critical pillar of U.S. foreign policy and a symbol of the commitment and generosity of U.S. farmers for more than sixty years.

"I represent probably the largest row crop district in the nation ... we grow corn, soybeans, and a lot of rice ... Can you provide an explanation of how you will police the use of cash vouchers for LRP and make sure that money is not being diverted?" asked Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham during the hearing.

To read the full story, click here.