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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack discusses Global Food Security

During remarks at the Partners in Agriculture Global Food Security Symposium, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed the importance of investing in long-term efforts to improve food security, the G8 agriculture ministers meeting, and stated that “food security efforts must be country-led and country-driven and focused at the local and community level.”

GAO Report – Global Food Security: U.S. Agencies Progressing on Governmentwide Strategy, but Approach Faces Several Vulnerabilities

For this report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) “examined (1) the types and funding of food security programs and activities of relevant U.S. government agencies; and (2) progress in developing an integrated U.S. governmentwide strategy to address global food insecurity as well as potential vulnerabilities of that strategy.”

Based on its analysis, the GAO provided two recommendations to the Secretary of State to improve U.S. global food security efforts: “(1) develop an operational definition of food security that is accepted by all U.S. agencies, establish a methodology for consistently reporting comprehensive data across agencies, and periodically inventory agencies’ food security-related programs and funding; and (2) collaborate with other agency heads to finalize a governmentwide strategy that delineates measures to mitigate the risks associated with the host country-led approach.”

Administration remarks at the 2010 International Food Aid and Development Conference

During the 2010 International Food Aid and Development Conference (IFADC), Ambassador William Garvelink, Deputy Coordinator for Development of Feed the Future, provided remarks on U.S. efforts to improve food security through the Feed the Future (FtF) initiative and discussed the five principles to achieving “sustainable global food security” established at the 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy including: investing in country-owned plans; strengthening coordination; ensuring a comprehensive approach; leveraging multilateral institutions; and delivering sustained and accountable commitments.

In a USDA blog post titled “Agriculture Key to Food Security,” Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Jim Miller reflected on the IFADC and described the role of agriculture in FtF.

USDA and Israeli Agriculture Ministry sign research agreement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD) of the State of Israel signed an agreement “to collaborate on research to meet the world’s food and fiber needs and address other high-priority agricultural issues.”

Secretary Clinton, Administrator Shah, and Secretary Vilsack announce the World Food Prize and discuss USG efforts to address food security

At the 2010 World Food Prize Ceremony, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the U.S. Government’s efforts to improve global agriculture through commitments made at the 2009 G-20 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy and to promote “nutrient-rich crops so people get the nourishment that they need to thrive, especially mothers and children” (Secretary Clinton) through the Feed the Future Initiative. Secretary Clinton also announced the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative, “a new research initiative that combines the knowledge, resources, and commitment of USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)” and will focus on translating agricultural technology and innovation into real-world solutions. Finally, Administrator Shah outlined three ways the USG is working to combat global hunger by focusing on “core productivity,” prioritizing “production systems in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa,” and by using a “milestones-and-outcome-based funding approach.”

Senate Appropriations Committee approves Agriculture Appropriations Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2011 Agriculture appropriations bill by a vote of 17-12. The approved bill includes $1.69 billion for international food aid through the P.L. 480 Title II Grants Program (equal to the House appropriations bill, the President’s FY11 request, and the FY10 enacted level) and an additional $209.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program ($57 million below the House; equal to the President’s FY11 request and the FY10 enacted level).

Senate Appropriations Committee introduces Continuing Resolution for the remainder of FY 2011; includes overall increase in global health funding

The Senate Committee on Appropriations introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would authorize appropriations for the remaining seven months of FY 2011 (the first 5 months of FY 2011 were funded under FY 2010 levels). This legislation would replace the full-year appropriations bill (H.R. 1) that was recently passed by the House on February 19, 2011. Unlike H.R. 1, which proposes to cut global health funding, the Senate CR proposes an overall increase in global health funding (see table below). Additionally, the summary of the CR provided by the Senate Committee on Appropriations categorizes State and Foreign Operations funding as part of National Security.

Summary of the FY11 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 1473)

Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY, 5th) introduced the “Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011” (H.R. 1473) authorizing appropriations for the remaining six months of FY 2011 (the first 6 months of FY 2011 were funded under FY 2010 levels). The proposed funding totals for global health (as compared to FY 2010 totals) included in this appropriations bill are provided in the table below.

Note: The appropriations bill (H.R. 1473) includes an across-the-board rescission of 0.2 percent to all discretionary spending; the global health funding totals for FY 11 (H.R. 1473) listed below include this rescission.

Timeline of the bill:

- Introduced and referred to the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Ways and Means on April 11, 2011.

- Passed by the House (260-167) and the Senate (81-19) on April 14, 2011.

- Signed by the President (Public Law No: 112-10) on April 15, 2011.

USAID and USDA announce release of report on ways to enhance the quality of food aid

In a joint press release, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the release of a report completed by researchers from Tufts University with funding from USAID and titled “Delivering Improved Nutrition: Recommendations for Changes to U.S. Food Aid Products and Programs.”