Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Mr. Michael Scuse; Administrator for the Farm Service Agency, Mr. Juan Garcia; Administrator for the Foreign Agricultural Service, Ms. Suzanne Heinen; Administrator for the Risk Management Agency, Mr. Brandon Willis; and USDA Budget Director, Mr. Mike Young testified before the Subcommittee.
"Most Americans do not see the behind the scenes work done within the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services mission area," said Aderholt. "This agency manages vital programs that help farmers and ranchers produce an abundant and diverse food supply for consumers here and abroad."
"Against the backdrop of a very poor economy, agriculture exports continue to be a bright spot in our nation's trade balance. Over the past four years, exports from the U.S. have exceeded $478billion and are on track to set a new record this year. Sadly, this is the second year in a row we have not seen any new initiatives, efforts or plans by USDA to do more for agriculture exports. USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that for every $1 billion of agricultural exports, an estimated 6,800 jobs are supported and an additional $1.29 billion in economic activity is generated. Our nation cannot afford to miss this opportunity, especially when 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States," continued Aderholt.
"Further, rather than focus their efforts on increasing trade, job and growth opportunities for American producers, the Administration is instead focusing on a proposal to move $1.4 billion from the Food for Peace program under USDA's jurisdiction to international development assistance programs under State and Foreign Operations jurisdiction. The Food for Peace program as it is currently structured nearly doubles the return on the American taxpayer's investment by supporting jobs and farmers here at home, while providing food security across the globe," added Aderholt.
"In today's challenging budgetary environment, strategic spending is more critical than ever before. This Subcommittee continues to find this Administration's efforts to spend less where the proven benefits are exponential, and more on some of the same funding areas to maintain the status quo. We will remind the Administration once again that our constituents expect us to make smarter, forward-looking decisions when investing their hard earned taxpayer dollars," concluded Aderholt.
Aderholt currently serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies for the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is a member of the Committee's Commerce, Justice and Science; and Homeland Security Subcommittees, and also serves on the Helsinki Commission.