Tester Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Prioritize Montana and American-Grown Crops for International Food Aid
Senator’s American Farmers Feed the World Act will prioritize Montana and American producers in Food for Peace Program
As a part of his continued efforts to champion Montana farmers and ranchers, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced his bipartisan American Farmers Feed the World Act, a bill to ensure that American-grown food is prioritized in Food for Peace shipments. Tester’s bipartisan legislation will fortify the nation’s allies, support American farmers, and contribute to the fight against global hunger by ensuring the continued role of the Food for Peace (FPP) program remains accountable and transparent.
“As a third-generation farmer, I know first-hand that Montana farmers produce the very best food that feeds the world,” said Tester. “This bill ensures American-grown crops are prioritized when it comes to international aid – and the bottom line is it’s a win for our farmers, it’s a win for showing that America is a force for good in the world, and it’s a win for hungry families around the world.”
“As a Montana wheat farmer, I am incredibly proud of the role my farm plays in supporting international food aid programs,” said Denise Conover, a farmer from Broadview, MT and a board member for U.S. Wheat Associates. “I am pleased to see Senator Tester leading this important bill to ensure that American farmers continue to play this vital role in the Food for Peace program, feeding more Montana wheat to more hungry people at no additional taxpayer cost.”
“The U.S. produces the safest and most abundant food supply in the world,”said Cyndi Johnson, a Conrad farmer and President of the Montana Farm Bureau.“Montana farmers and ranchers are proud to contribute to this production, and to be a part of feeding consumers domestically and abroad. This legislation will help deliver our high quality products to the neediest people in the world, and we thank Senator Tester for helping make this happen.”
“Here in Montana we are passionate about raising the world’s finest grain,”said Nathan Keane of Loma, President of the Montana Grain Growers Association.“We truly appreciate Senator Tester supporting legislation that will help ensure that Montana farmers can continue to feed the world. This legislation supports our mission without adding any burden to the taxpayers.”
“Senator Tester’s bill to prioritize Montana and American-grown crops for international aid is a win-win for both American farmers and families in need around the world,” said Walt Schweitzer, President of Montana Farmers Union. “Using American food instead of vouchers helps farmers by utilizing surplus production and it helps hungry people around the world by putting food on the table. We appreciate Senator Tester’s efforts to make sure that American-funded programs are providing American-produced food – this legislation will have a big, positive impact on Montana farmers and the world for generations.”
“The U.S. pulse crop industry is extremely proud to play a part in providing food for people in need around the world,” said Tim McGreevy, CEO of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. “On behalf of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council we appreciate Sen. Tester helping lead the effort to strengthen the food aid programs and increase the amount of American grown crops that are used in these programs.”
Tester’s American Farmers Feed the World Act would:
- Reserve half of FFP dollars for purchasing commodities and shipping them overseas
- Reduce the maximum share for 202(e) spending in FFP from 20 percent to 10 percent
- Move key decision making points from USAID to USDA
- Prohibit the use of food vouchers or cash transfers instead of food, and
- Increase reporting requirements around any waivers granted under FFP.
As the only working dirt farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has consistently fought to ensure Montana producers have access to the resources they need to grow their bottom lines, strengthen their communities, and pass down their operations to the next generation.
Tester introduced the Family Farm and Small Business Exemption Act to restore the exemptions for family farm land and small businesses from being declared as an asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, saving the children of farmers and small business owners from being denied sufficient aid in the application and financial aid calculation. He also introduced his bipartisan Farmers First Act of 2023 to reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and connect farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with stress assistance programs and resources.