DA Glick’s Remarks for Feed the Future Congressional Reception

Speeches Shim

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Good afternoon, and thank you.

I want to thank Representative McCaul and Texas A&M University for hosting this event. Even though we can’t gather in person, I appreciate that we still are able to meet virtually.

I also want to acknowledge Julie Borlaug, whose work to assure her grandfather’s legacy is an inspiration. I was fortunate to visit Texas A&M in April of last year and to see the institute named after your grandfather. I also, during this COVID period, had the opportunity to introduce your grandfather and his legacy of the Green Revolution to my husband and sons during one of our many TV nights - there’s a great PBS documentary about him and his life. You should be very proud to see his work celebrated and extended.

Every day, Americans across this country -- whether in the private sector, at NGOs, or in university labs -- work to reduce hunger for people around the world, people whom they may never know. It is an extraordinary statement about what makes America so special.

The Feed the Future Innovation Labs that we are announcing today truly represent the best of the American spirit. And they’re good for America, too.

They help us build lasting friendships with other nations. They remind everyone of what America stands for...and that is economic prosperity… long and healthy lives…and human dignity.

Without sustained food security, all of this is at risk. So what we celebrate today...during the tenth anniversary of Feed the Future... isn’t just about agriculture or food. It’s about the future of civilization, here in America and across the globe.

The hard work of farming is often overlooked in our modern age. But speaking as a smallholder farmer myself, I know that nothing on the farm can be taken for granted. Whether you’re a farmer in the far southwest corner of Nebraska or a farmer in rural India, people’s lives depend on your work.

And that’s why it’s important to celebrate the work of these Innovation Labs. They are bringing science and discovery to the age-old art of farming and animal husbandry.

And this work is especially essential now, when food security is becoming a pressing issue more and more each day.

I’m honored to announce a few new Innovation Lab partnerships today:

First, Washington State University will lead the Feed the Future Animal Health Innovation Lab. At USAID, we know well the value of livestock... a small group of animals can sustain many families for many years. But just the same, their loss to disease can lead to compromised food security for entire communities. And it is a risk we must seek to reduce. This Lab will focus on diseases such as East Coast Fever, which causes more than $300 million in losses a year in East Africa.

This next Innovation Lab is especially close to my heart, because it is at my alma mater, Cornell University. The expansion of Cornell’s Feed The Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement is a major milestone, and will focus on getting more productive, resilient, and nutritious seeds into the hands of farmers in Costa Rica, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda.

I don’t want to brag, but Cornell alumni are no strangers to this work. Cornell is where the chicken nugget was invented -- so agricultural innovation is pretty much part of what makes the university. And of course Cornell’s own Dairy, on campus, is responsible for many of us (myself including) gaining the infamous Freshman 15! Go Big Red!

I want to take a moment as well to mention some of the work we are expanding with through other Feed the Future Innovation Labs.

At the University of Illinois, we are expanding our work on making agricultural technologies and innovations more accessible to farmers.

And the Innovation Lab on Livestock Systems, led by the University of Florida, has been granted a 5-year extension to continue its research on livestock productivity and human nutrition.

Last but not least, we are working to engage scientists from around the world to create a new Innovation Lab on Current and Emerging Threats to Crops. This new lab will build on the achievements of our ongoing pest management work, and leverage the best science available to address major food security threats.

Thank you to all these institutions for their successes and their ambition to meet a purpose all Americans can get behind.

Next, we’ll have a video from Congressman Dan Newhouse to talk about the new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Animal Health.

And now I want to say a few quick words about two Feed the Future champions who also happen to be outstanding legislators and leaders in global development.

Representative Kay Granger is no stranger to foreign assistance. USAID has recognized her in the past for her leadership in the global fight against tuberculosis, as well as in the global fight against malaria. She is a formidable voice for the vulnerable, and I honor her today with a Feed the Future Champion Award for her decade-long commitment to Feed the Future.

Representative Nita Lowey is a dedicated champion of human rights and the role of women in global development. She is in the final months of a historic career in Congress, spanning more than three decades. Her influence on key committees will be felt for generations to come. So it is only fitting that we recognize her with a Feed the Future Champion Award, and we wish her all the best in whatever comes next. My personal thanks to Representative Lowey for her unwavering commitment to USAID, especially as a defender of our budgets. We literally could not do the work that we do without you.

These Members of Congress have been champions in breaking down barriers set before all who care about global development. Their bipartisan leadership has produced meaningful results around the world.

That’s a legacy anyone would be proud of, and we hope that Representatives Granger and Lowey accept this award as a token of thanks...not just on behalf of USAID, but on behalf of the American people and all the people around the world who have been lifted up due to their hard work.

Thank you and now we’ll watch an acceptance video from Representative Granger.