The wheat Export Trade Education Committee (WETEC) and the National Association of wheat Growers ((NAWG) has applaud the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for adding the Food and Medicine for the World Act to the foreign assistance bill that will remove American wheat growers as pawns in foreign policy.
The legislation, championed by Sen. John Ashcroft, R-MO, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-NE, would exclude agriculture and medicine from the U.S. sanctions regime. This has been a priority of the wheat industry for several years. "The U.S. wheat industry has worked very hard to raise the level of awareness toward the harmful affects unilateral sanctions have had on agricultural producers. It is tremendous to witness the leadership taken by the Foreign Relations Committee in approving this legislation and helping to keep markets around the world open to U.S. wheat growers," stated Christopher Shaffer, WETEC chairman and Walla Walla, WA wheat producer.
The legislation is similar to the amendment made to last year's agricultural appropriations bill that passed by a vote of 70 to 28, before being dropped from the final version of the spending bill.
Terry Detrick, NAWG president and Ames, OK, wheat producer stressed, "This issue has been a thorn in the sides of U.S. agriculture producers for decades. Hopefully, clearing this hurdle will put the momentum squarely in favor of meaningful unilateral sanctions reform. The wheat industry is very grateful for the tireless efforts of Senators Hagel and Ashcroft in securing approval for the measure, in the Foreign Relations Committee, for the first time ever.