ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — The approval of $670 million in food assistance to countries in need by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) on April 27 has drawn broad praise from the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and US Wheat Associates (USW).

The aid specifically will utilize the $282 million in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) and the USDA will provide an additional $388 million through the Commodity Credit Corporation to help cover the transportation costs. 

“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 Chandler Goule, chief executive officer of NAWG. “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.”

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 also will be used to cover the costs of transporting the commodities to their destination. Russia and Ukraine together account for about 29% of global wheat exports.

NAWG and USW said they will continue to work with the USDA on ways the industry can support the food aid programs, while advocating for policies that benefit and enable US farmers to continue growing wheat.

“It is so sad to think of more people being pushed into food insecurity around the world, but that is happening,” said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and chair of the USW and NAWG Food Aid Working Group. “Wheat has long been the most often donated commodity for food aid programs, and wheat growers are ready again in this crisis to help ease the hunger.”