Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Presidential Efforts to Reduce Hunger

Tony Hall introduced our next speaker, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, USDA.  She started her comments by complimenting Bread's work on the 2007 farm bill and the legacy of our organization.  Dr. Merrigan reminded us of President Obama's words at the Inauguration:

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

Dr. Merrigan walked us through the various ways the administration is responding to hunger here and abroad. She outlined the importance of key programs like food aid, school lunch and effective foreign assistance programs like local and regional purchase of food in famine situations. 

President Obama has requested that Congress double agricultural development funding for FY 2010.  Dr. Merrigan referred to this funding as a "long-term solution" to hunger.  Kathleen stated, "We need distribution networks, improve irrigation, provide access to rural credit.  We need to summon the political will to end hunger in our world.  This is a goal that is rapidly slipping from our grasp.  We will call on your partnership and your commitment in this worthy goal."   

Dr. Merrigan closed her comments by reiterating the importance of Bread for the World's work.  She ended by saying, "For 35 years, Bread for the World has used its profound gifts of advocacy for profound good.  I look forward to working with you.  Thank you for all you do."


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