Today, 925 million people across the globe suffer from hunger, which robs them of healthy, productive lives. In response, nations have joined together in a coordinated, global strategy to cut hunger and improve food security. By committing $3.5 billion over 3 years and establishing a results-oriented plan of action called “Feed the Future”, the U. S. government is boldly leading the way to increase agricultural productivity and incomes and decrease childhood malnutrition in developing countries. Overcoming the root causes of hunger will take time. Therefore, it is also critical for the U.S. to continue its innovative and live-saving food assistance programs. U.S. food aid programs are more than a hand out, they are a hand up, improving living conditions, incomes, nutrition and agriculture.

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Food for Peace advocates celebrate 60 years of global dividends

60th Anniversary of the Food for Peace Program

60th Anniversary of the Food for Peace Program

By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 – When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 480 back on July 10, 1954, he was strongly motivated to help farmers deal with mounting surpluses and low prices. Little did he know that, 60 years later, this budding food aid program would be responsible for saving 3 billion lives and building goodwill in 150 countries around the globe.

That was part of the historic perspective shared among a long list of dignitaries attending a Food for Peace celebration in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate office building on Capitol Hill last week. The official program was hosted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and her ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman, Senate Agriculture Committee

“It’s been an extraordinary partnership that’s made a huge difference in fighting hunger,” emphasized Stabenow. “With every shipment, we promote American goodwill around the world,”

She also emphasized the bipartisan nature of the partnership behind Food for Peace, ”a bipartisan partnership, and we don’t have enough of those these days.”

During Eisenhower’s tenure, both Republicans and Democrats were focused on helping American farmers who were producing much more than U.S. citizens could consume. One of his fellow Kansans, Cheyenne County Farm Bureau member Peter O’Brien, suggested giving countries devastated by World War II aid in the form of food rather than money. In 1954, Kansas Senator Andy Schoeppel sponsored legislation that became known as Food for Peace.

But President John F. Kennedy is widely credited with making the program more popular and pivoting beyond farm surplus issues to addressing humanitarian needs.

“Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want,” Kennedy noted in 1961.  Read more.

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