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FACT SHEET:
Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust

March 2012

The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) is a food reserve designed to hold up to 4 million metric tons of wheat, corn, sorghum and rice administered under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. When an unanticipated emergency arises that cannot be met with Food for Peace Act resources, the Secretary of Agriculture may authorize the release of commodities from the reserve in order to meet those immediate needs. Each year, 500,000 metric tons may be released, plus up to another 500,000 metric tons that was not released in prior years.

The reserve was originally authorized by the Agricultural Trade Act of 1980 as the Food Security Wheat Reserve and was later broadened to include a number of other commodities. In 1998, the reserve was renamed the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. In FY 2008, USDA converted wheat in the trust into cash.

History of Releases Through January 2006

June 22, 2005: Release of up to 500,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, to relieve suffering and avert famine in Africa, especially Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Dec. 3, 2004: Release of 200,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, to further respond to emergency food needs in Sudan.

March 20, 2003: Release of 200,000 metric tons, with an additional 400,000 metric tons as needed, is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated emergency needs in Iraq and Africa.

March 19, 2003: Release of 200,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated emergency needs in Africa, particularly Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Aug. 28, 2002: Release of up to 300,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated emergency needs in southern Africa.

June 7, 2002: Release of up to 275,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated emergency needs in southern Africa.

Jan. 22, 1996: Release of up to 1.5 million metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Titles I, II, and III, because of limited domestic supplies.

July 19, 1994: Release of up to 200,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated needs in the Caucasus region.

May 31, 1991: Release of up to 300,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated needs in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Sept. 14, 1989: Release of up to an additional 2.0 million metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Titles I and II, because of limited domestic supplies.

Oct. 26, 1988: Release of up to 1.5 million metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Titles I and II, because of limited domestic supplies.

Dec. 5, 1984: Release of up to 300,000 metric tons is authorized for use in P.L. 480, Title II, for unanticipated needs in Africa.

Additional Information:
Food Assistance Division
Office of Capacity Building and Development
FAS/USDA
1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Stop 1034 Washington, DC 20250-1034
Tel: 202.720.4221 Fax: 202.690.0251

Information about USDA food aid efforts is also available on the FAS Web site: http://www.fas.usda.gov/food-aid.asp

General information about FAS programs, resources, and services can be found at: http://www.fas.usda.gov
 

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