NAMA Urges the Administration to Fund Food Aid Development Programs at the Level Mandated by CongressApril 6, 2004
CONTACT: Betsy Faga, NAMA President
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 8, 2004 – A team of top level executives from the North American Millers’ Association met with U.S. government officials to garner support for food aid programs. The Administration has been holding back PL 480 Title II funds each year for potential emergencies, to the detriment of long-term development projects. Current non-emergency funding falls far short of the level mandated by Congress – 75% of the Title II food aid budget.
During a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia in December, several of the NAMA executives saw first-hand how food aid is most effective when used in direct feeding programs to help the most vulnerable people and in development programs that promote sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency. Inconsistent funding for food aid programs over the course of each fiscal year forces private voluntary organizations to disrupt successful programs.
Dedicated Title II funding for nutrition programs to combat HIV and AIDS in conjunction with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is also a priority for NAMA. In meetings with government officials, NAMA Chairman John Gillcrist described the thanks given by numerous needy food beneficiaries. “What more powerful weapon do we have in the fight against HIV/AIDS and terrorism than America’s agricultural bounty?” he commented.
The NAMA team also pressed for funding of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program at a minimum of $150 million. This international school feeding program has been cut substantially since its inception in 2001despite the fact that school lunches are a proven tool for increasing education levels and economic opportunities and decreasing HIV/AIDS infection rates. NAMA supports consistent multi-year funding for this important initiative.
Executives on the team included NAMA Chairman, John Gillcrist, president, Bartlett Milling Co.; NAMA Vice Chairman, Guy Shoemaker, president, Horizon Milling LLC; NAMA board members Craig Fischer, president, ADM Milling Co. and Fred Luckey, senior vice president and general manager, Bunge Milling, Inc.; and NAMA International Trade Committee Chair, Jim Madich, vice president, North American Flour Milling, Horizon Milling LLC.
NAMA has 46 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. The aggregate production capacity of NAMA’s membership is more than 160 million pounds of product daily, which is about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.