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Wheat, Soy Groups Support Additional Ukraine Aid

President Biden's request includes $500M to produce more soybeans and wheat within the U.S.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

On Thursday, President Biden asked Congress for an additional $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as officials anticipate the conflict stretching on for months.

The additional assistance to Ukraine included $1.6 billion for food aid and humanitarian assistance as well as $500 million intended to incentivize increased production of crops like soybeans and wheat within the U.S.

According to a White House fact sheet, through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives, the legislative proposal to Congress would provide greater access to credit and lower risk for farmers growing soybeans and other commodities while lowering costs for American consumers.

"This funding is going to help ease rising food prices at home as well, and abroad, caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine," said President Biden when announcing his request for the additional aid.

"It’s going to help support American farmers produce more crops like wheat and oilseed, which is good for rural America, good for the American consumer, and good for the world."

Increased wheat production

Thursday’s announcement also requests Congress appropriate $1.6 billion for USAID to help with global food insecurity and provide an additional $100 million for Food for Progress and $20 million for Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT), which will allow the U.S. to better respond to the evolving food crisis.

Groups including the American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) all supported the additional aid by the White House.

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule said his group supports the continued humanitarian efforts to provide food assistance to countries in need and appreciates the administration’s creative efforts to ensure a stable food supply for the American people and the world.

As this proposal is refined through the Congressional process, Goule says NAWG looks forward to working with lawmakers to achieve the administration’s goal to “provide incentive payments through crop insurance to increase wheat production by encouraging U.S. farmers to double-crop wheat."

“We would like to see wheat production encouraged throughout the nation and incentivize both spring and winter wheat growers,” said Goule.

“It's important that we take a holistic approach to ensure that we have an adequate supply of food crops to meet the emerging humanitarian needs. U.S. wheat farmers produce the best, highest quality wheat and should be supported during this time of global food insecurity.”

Additional U.S. food assistance

Thursday's announcement complements the $670 million in food assistance that was announced Wednesday, which uses BEHT and funds from the Commodity Credit Corp. to help cover transportation costs to deliver this critical aid.

This assistance will use the $282 million in the BEHT and USDA will provide an additional $388 million through the Commodity Credit Corp. to help cover the transportation costs.

The funding will be spent on purchasing domestic wheat and other commodities as part of a food aid package to help feed people in countries experiencing food insecurity. The funding will also be used to cover the costs of transporting the commodities to their destination.

"Today's action is an important step in helping get assistance to countries facing food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine" said Goule.

"Ukraine is a significant wheat exporting country, and Russia's aggression has caused considerable market and global supply chain disruptions. Unlocking the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust will play a crucial role in helping address the urgent humanitarian needs resulting from this conflict."

Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and chair of the USW and NAWG Food Aid Working Group, noted it's "sad to think of more people being pushed into food insecurity around the world.

“Wheat has long been the most often donated commodity for food aid programs," said Schulte. "And wheat growers are ready again in this crisis to help ease the hunger.”

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