NEW YORK — With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain problems stemming from the global pandemic, and the world struggling under escalating inflation and a rapidly changing climate, the global hunger crisis has reached new levels.
Every night, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry, with the number of severely food-insecure people more than doubling from 135 million before COVID-19 to 345 million today, according to the World Food Program. At the same time, American agricultural exports of farm and food products shattered records in 2021 to total $177 billion, according to the USDA, demonstrating the instrumental role American farmers play in the U.S. economy, and in feeding the world.
“It’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead globally to protect food systems abroad and our citizens at home from supply chain disruptions and rising prices,” said Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Senior Advisor at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “As we face growing threats and crises on the global stage from wars, drought, climate change and food insecurity, farmers are part of the solution and will play a key role helping to save lives.”
This is the driving idea behind a newly-launched initiative: Farmers for Prosperity. This network of agribusiness leaders is committed to U.S. global engagement by harnessing American resources to feed the world. Convened by the USGLC, Farmers for Prosperity will also shine a spotlight on both the role farmers play in solving critical global issues, and on why U.S. global leadership is essential to protect the security, health and economic interests of American families.
The launch of Farmers for Prosperity recently took place at USGLC’s Heartland Summit, hosted in Minnetonka, Minnesota, West Lafayette, Indiana, and Wichita, Kansas. The Summit, an annual event, convenes leaders this year from across the heartland with the aim of unpacking how strategic investments in agriculture, digital technology and global development help create jobs, feed the hungry, reduce poverty and keep America safe. Advocates are highlighting this year’s biggest takeaways:
- When communities are food insecure, it can lead to instability, slowing economic growth, perpetuating conflict, impacting child development and worsening malnutrition. Working with partners around the world, American farmers can help feed the world and save lives.
- U.S. leadership on the global stage is vital to advancing national economic and security interests, and agriculture is a part of that equation. Farmers have unique and important views on what it takes for the United States and the world to prosper, making it important for them to help shape foreign policy by educating policymakers on the challenges on the ground.
- Ensuring that American farmers have access to developing and emerging markets around the world is critical for the domestic economy. U.S. agricultural exports support over 1.3 million jobs on the farm and in related industries such as food processing and transportation.
To watch the 2022 Heartland Summit or learn more about Farmers for Prosperity, visit heartland.usglc.org
“Farmers around the world are not all that different. Together, they grow the food that sustains communities. At a time of global crisis, American farmers can lead the effort to tackle hunger and food insecurity,” says Glickman.