Today, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, held an audit hearing to examine trade, food aid and agricultural development programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This is the fourth hearing in the audit series that is designed to provide members of the committee with a greater understanding of farm policy.
FAS administers trade promotion programs that are designed to tackle non-tariff trade barriers and help develop export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Exports are vital to the U.S. agricultural economy supporting 1 million jobs on and off the farm. Nearly a third of agricultural sales come from exports. Export development programs have been a critical component in building relationships between U.S. industries and foreign counterparts and customers. Subcommittee members examined how the export promotion programs are working, as well as the food aid programs, which are administered by both FAS and USAID.
"One of the objectives we must keep in mind for the next farm bill is reducing overall spending while maintaining an effective level of support for critical programs. In every corner of government we are looking for opportunities to streamline processes and ensure federal programs are delivered with maximum impact and with the least cost possible. It is incumbent upon the agencies to effectively deliver each program in the most efficient manner possible. And it is the purview of this committee to ensure the agencies are fulfilling this responsibility," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).
"As we prepare to write the 2012 Farm Bill, we must review the federal programs under this subcommittee's jurisdiction to ensure our tax dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively. Today's hearing clearly demonstrated the benefits agricultural export and international food aid programs provide for American farmers, our economy and in advancing our foreign policy objectives," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA).