Media CenterDuring Congressional Hearing on Farm Bill, CRS Warns of Rising Global Hunger, Pushes for More Flexibility

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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(978) 884-0003

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, April 6, 2022 – During a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on the next iteration of the Farm Bill, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) testified about the impacts of the war in Ukraine on rising global hunger and the need for more flexibility in the bill to meet growing, long-term needs.

“After decades of progress, global hunger has steadily risen for seven consecutive years. The ‘three Cs’ – conflict, climate change and COVID-19 – are exacerbating chronic and severe food insecurity for people living in highly vulnerable and fragile contexts,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ executive vice president for Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy, before adding that the war in Ukraine compounds such problems. “We at CRS are not the hyperbolic types, but we are extremely concerned.”

The Farm Bill, which is up for reauthorization in 2023, funds international food security programs like the Title II Food for Peace and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education programs. During the hearing, convened by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, O’Keefe talked about CRS’ experience implementing such programs. He also recommended ways Congress could improve the Farm Bill so that implementing partners could better tailor the programs to fit local contexts. Such flexibility, he said, would help minimize the impacts of inflation. He specifically talked about ways to improve the Farm Bill’s Title II Food for Peace development programming.

“As unprecedented crises continue to arise globally, and with funding and resources failing to keep up with the pace of the global need, we recommend improvements to the program to ensure that CRS and other implementers are utilizing the best and most appropriate tools in our toolbox, reaching as many families in need as possible,” O’Keefe said in his written remarks, submitted before the hearing. “CRS is requesting full flexibility of funding for Title II non-emergency resources, so that implementing partners have the agency to utilize the best and most appropriate modality choice to make responses and interventions context-specific and poverty-reducing.”  

To read CRS’ full written testimony on the Farm Bill, which includes all of the organization’s recommendations to Congress, click here.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
April 5, 2022

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More