NAMA Announces Farm Bill PrioritiesMarch 23, 2023
March 23, 2023 – The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) has announced its policy priorities for the next farm bill, with a focus on international food aid, grains research, and conservation. These priorities were developed by member leaders serving on NAMA’s foreign market development committee and sustainability working group.
International Food Aid
- The U.S. has a long history of administering the largest, most diverse, reliable, safe, and effective food assistance programs in the world. NAMA is proud of the role it plays in providing in-kind commodity and nutritional support in alleviating world hunger.
- NAMA supports “putting the food back in food aid” by restoring the farm bill authorized programs to their roots as pure in-kind commodity donation programs and requiring that not less than half of Food for Peace funds be used to purchase commodities.
- The farm bill should recognize the unique contributions of U.S. farmers by eliminating the use of Food for Peace to hand out cash or vouchers or purchase commodities from competitors.
- NAMA also leads advocacy to secure annual appropriations for international food aid programs. In March 2023, NAMA led a stakeholder letter to appropriators seeking an investment of at least $2.3 billion in the Food for Peace, Food for Progress, and McGovern-Dole programs in Fiscal Year 2024.
- All of the grains milled by NAMA members benefit from the USDA research units across the country that carry out or support small grain research activities. While NAMA and industry leaders also contribute to the research initiatives and believe in strong public-private partnerships, the success of U.S. agriculture is due in large part to the sustained federal investment in foundational agriculture research.
- NAMA supports increasing the farm bill’s authorization for wheat and barley research from $15 million to $20 million to support the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative.
- NAMA recently joined over 50 organizations in sending a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees that supports at $8 billion investment in research in the next farm bill.
- NAMA believes farm bill conservation programs should not further skew planting decisions away from food grains such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Growing these small grains can improve environmental sustainability and resiliency while improving food security.
- Intentionally-seeded and harvestable winter wheat, winter barley, and rye should have the option of being classified as a “cover crop” by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services and other climate-smart programs.
- The farm bill should expand access to technical assistance for conservation planning by increasing staffing options and community-based grants.
- As weather patterns and plant breeding continue to evolve, double cropping could become an even more accessible tool. Congress should instruct USDA to continue to expand and streamline the number of double crop eligible counties.
“The farm bill is the cornerstone of federal farm policy and at its core is about delivering nutritious products that sustain and enrich people’s lives around the world,” said NAMA President Jane DeMarchi. “NAMA’s farm bill priorities reflect its role as the indispensable link between raw grain and food and we urge Congress to be mindful that food security should be a top priority during the farm bill debate.”
The current farm bill was signed into law in 2018 and is due to be reauthorized by September 30, 2023. NAMA recently joined with 400 other organizations calling for robust funding for the farm bill to address a wide range of needs. We advance these goals as work on the 2023 Farm Bill continues.
Visit NAMA’s website for additional information about these policy priorities.
NAMA is the only national trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the North American wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industry before Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory bodies. Member companies operate mills in 32 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, representing more than 90 percent of total industry production capacity.
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