Title III of the 2018 Farm Bill concerns USDA’s food aid, export market development, and export credit guarantee programs.
The 2018 Farm Bill enhanced the flexibility of many international food assistance programs in order to not only help those in need, but also help local economies where those people in need are located.
International food assistance is split into three areas: Food for Peace, Food for Progress, and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. Food for Peace, the largest of the three sections and receiving about $1.5 billion annually, provides both emergency and nonemergency food assistance to foreign nations. One of the original purposes of Food for Peace, which originated in 1954 under the name Public Law 83-480, was to “reduce large government stocks of program crops that had accumulated under U.S. Department of Agriculture commodity price support programs while responding to the humanitarian, economic development, and geopolitical goals in foreign countries.” Today, the goal of Food for Peace has shifted to support long-term agricultural development.
Recent farm bills have shifted the focus away from solely relying on U.S.-produced agriculture to allow greater flexibility, faster response times, and more economically efficient provision of food to international populations. New provisions allows recipients to purchase food in local markets and to obtain directly transferred cash or vouchers. This provides less market disruption in the region. The monetization requirement was eliminated in the 2018 Farm Bill, and the level of funding for nonemergency assistance increased from $350 million to $365 million.
Other programs were expanded to increase technical assistance and extension efforts, which in turn help to increase trade and improve global security. These programs include USAID’s Farmer-2-Farmer Program, the Borlaug Fellowship, the Cochran Fellowship, the International Food Security Technical Assistance provision, and the International Agricultural Education Fellowship Program
The new farm bill also consolidated the USDA’s four large export programs into a single section, Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation Program (ATPFP); the programs now under ATPFP are Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP), Emerging Markets Program (EMP), and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC). The consolidation resulted in the creation of the Priority Trade Fund, which allows the Secretary of Agriculture more flexibility in using $3.5 million annually in funds to promote trade.