Agricultural groups are lobbying for a “seat at the table” at the upcoming White House hunger and nutrition conference, citing the vital role that farmers play in the food supply chain. 

“Agriculture was a key partner in the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health — we again stand ready to work with government and private sector partners to identify and act on steps that can lead to a healthier America in 2030,” a dozen groups, including The American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and USA Rice, said in a letter Thursday to President Joe Biden.

“Our members form the literal base of the food chain, supplying the grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and dairy necessary to provide Americans of all backgrounds with a healthy diet,” the letter says. 

ASA spokesperson Wendy Brannen acknowledged that so far, there are few specifics about the Sept. 28 event.

“We’re looking forward to more details on the who, what and where and hopeful that agriculture will be involved,” she said.

The White House has not released an agenda for the conference but says it will be live-streamed and is encouraging people to organize “watch parties.”

The goal of the conference is to "end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension."

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Conference organizers have been working to get stakeholder commitments, such as pledges to reformulate foods to reduce sodium and added sugars. In addition, the White House plans to release a national strategy using input from public sessions and comments submitted online. The White House held six listening sessions, and the web site for the conference lists more than 40 other “partner-led convenings.”

The strategy “will identify steps the government will take and catalyzes the public and private sectors to address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health,” the conference website says.

The other groups signing on to the letter are the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Sorghum Producers, The Peanut Institute, U.S. Canola Association, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, and United Egg Producers.

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