Rep. Jared Polis talks co-ops with POTUS Politics

Jared Polis Photo Credit: Washington PostJared Polis Photo Credit: Washington PostSpeaking with Sirius XM show POTUS Politics, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) talks co-ops and the importance of good legislation, especially with the upcoming tax overhaul on the horizon. Listen in (8 min):



Global Food Security Act passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee; on its way to Senate floor

The Global Food Security Act, supported by NCBA CLUSA and other international NGOs working to improve food security and support farmers around the world, passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week by voice vote. NCBA CLUSA is a signatory to InterAction’s coalition statement of support and has continued to advocate for increased food security funding and a comprehensive strategy to fight malnutrition.

The Global Food Security Act is an exciting step forward in building the political will needed to end global hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime, advocates say. The Act includes the development and implementation of a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to combat hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. This strategy focuses on increasing sustainable and equitable agricultural development, reducing global hunger and improving nutrition—especially in the key first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. The legislation also promotes country ownership and accountability, improving upon existing monitoring and evaluation practices to ensure transparency and efficiency.

“NCBA CLUSA applauds this next step in passing the Global Food Security Act and is continuing to support the bill moving forward into law,” said Alan Knapp, Vice President of Advocacy for NCBA CLUSA. “From our flagship Feed the Future Yaajeende project in Senegal to integrating nutrition-led agriculture throughout our programs, NCBA CLUSA is dedicated to battling malnutrition and supporting the agricultural sector as a key to long-term development.”

After decades of declining support for farmers in developing countries, renewed U.S. leadership from President Bush and now President Obama has sparked a global commitment to help people feed themselves. Through initiatives like Feed the Future, NCBA CLUSA has helped to implement this larger government strategy and battle malnutrition by advancing the agriculture sector—a more sustainable solution than food aid. In Senegal, NCBA CLUSA's Yaajeende project has reduced child stunting due to malnutrition by one third in project area villages.

This focus on farmers has had clear impact. NCBA CLUSA trains farmers across Africa in conservation agriculture techniques, improving yields on average by 50 percent. These increased yields provide communities access to more nutritious fruit and vegetable varieties through oasis gardens and also provide surplus for sales, leading to increased household incomes. Growth in the agriculture sector is 2 to 4 times as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank.

The next step for the Global Food Security Act is full consideration by the Senate. Its companion legislation (H.R. 1567) passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April 2015 and is also waiting on floor action from Congress. The two bills will need to be reconciled before being sent to the president and signed into law.

BREAKING NEWS: Congress secures 2016 funding for Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program

The U.S. Congress today passed a major federal spending bill that preserves core funding for the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, a key advocacy priority for NCBA CLUSA pivotal to the interests of rural cooperative enterprise.

The Omnibus Appropriations Act secures $5.8 million in grants for Rural Cooperative Development Centers in fiscal year 2016. The $1.15 trillion bill, which funds federal agencies through September 30, 2016, is now headed to the White House for signing. 

“NCBA CLUSA has diligently advocated for consistent RCDG funding on behalf of our members and co-ops across the country,” said Judy Ziewacz, NCBA CLUSA interim president and CEO. “We are pleased that appropriations for fiscal year 2016 preserve the only federal program dedicated to advancing the cooperative businesses that help America’s rural communities prosper.”

NCBA CLUSA actively monitors federal budget negotiations year around to ensure consistent RCDG funding levels. After a call to consolidate several rural development programs in 2014, NCBA CLUSA led a successful effort to restore RCDG funding.

NCBA CLUSA’s advocacy efforts at the time included directly engaging with every member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and following up with close to 50 other congressional offices that heard directly from their local cooperative development centers. NCBA CLUSA also distributed a request letter and written testimony arguing for the preservation of RCDG funding.

The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses. Grants are awarded competitively and on an annual basis to Cooperative Development Centers that, in turn, provide technical assistance to individuals and co-ops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development administers the grants.


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