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Food for peace extended, but funding uncertain.

Title VII of the fiscal cliff legislation that has been signed by President Obama reauthorizes most provisions of the 2008 farm bill through next September, including a number of international food aid programs. For example:

Food for Progress continues to be funded by USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation through FY13. This program combines the provision of commodities to developing countries with programs that improve agricultural and food systems in those countries.

The Food for Peace Title II program, the nation's largest and most visible form of assistance to people in need worldwide, and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program also are authorized through next September, meaning that the United States can sign agreements, obligate funds, ship commodities and implement feeding programs. However, both of those programs rely on congressional appropriations and last year, Congress only approved appropriations through March 27, 2013.

Whether the incoming 113th Congress will seek to increase funding for international food aid programs is an open question at this point. The costs are not especially large, by farm bill standards ($25 million for Food for Peace Title II and $184 million for the McGovern-Dole nutrition program), but with Congress ever more vigilant about federal spending, these foreign aid programs could find themselves on the chopping block.
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Publication:The Food & Fiber Letter
Date:Jan 7, 2013
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