WASHINGTON, June 26, 2015 -- A coalition of more than a dozen farm organizations, international development groups and agriculture-related foundations sent a letter today to congressional committees calling for a coordinated approach from the federal government to meeting global food security needs. 

The groups stated that international agricultural development is essential to meeting the goal of feeding the world's growing population, expected to rise from 7.2 billion to 9.1 billion by 2050. Global demand for food will increase by 60 percent during the same period, they noted.

The letter emphasized that USDA, the U.S. land grant university system, farm organizations and agribusiness should be leveraged more prominently in international agricultural development efforts, working in coordination with other development and humanitarian programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The letter was sent to the Senate and House Agriculture committees, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Among the signatories were the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union and groups representing U.S. corn, soybean and wheat growers.

“We commend ongoing congressional efforts to institutionalize a comprehensive global food security strategy to address hunger and create economic opportunity in developing countries,” the letter stated. “The organizing principle of the legislation being debated is a whole-of-government approach to improve the coordination and the efficient use of resources under programs administered by the various federal agencies involved in international work. This approach offers potential to increase the effectiveness of these efforts, getting the most ‘bang for the buck.’”

The letter continues:

“As Congress considers the challenge of how to most effectively address global food security, we believe coordination between your committees offers the best way to achieve a true whole-of-government approach. We hope the efforts of your respective committees will result in complementary proposals that can make the greatest possible contributions toward meeting the future needs of the world’s growing population.”

In a news release, Wade Cowan, president of the American Soybean Association, said the group is eager to be part of the effort to address global food security and pointed out that it has a long history of addressing the issue through the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health. He said that training and technology transfers with people in the least-developed countries not only helps to alleviate hunger and increase economic opportunities for local people, but also ”provides long-term market growth for U.S. agricultural products abroad.”