Seven representatives of the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) recently visited Washington D.C. to coordinate activities with governmental agencies involved in improving food production in developing countries.  The FRB is an ecumenical organization whose goal is to help small farmers in areas of the world where there is a food shortage.
For the U.S. government, the concept of developmental agriculture has replaced past governmental programs goals of supplying imported food on a continuing basis.  FRB programs supply funding for developing food production programs, but do not send food per se.
Fifteen major church denominations are involved in the U.S. FRB program.  Four Reno-McPherson County churches (Churches of the Brethren at McPherson, Hutchinson and Monitor and the Hutchinson Presbyterian Church) are in their third year of an FRB project designed to provide funding for overseas food development programs.
   Land for the Reno-McPherson project is being supplied by Ellis and Rita Yoder located about 10 miles southwest of McPherson.  The 2008 production was grain sorghum and the 2009 crop will be soybeans.
Churches involved, along with grants obtained, raise money to pay production expenses allowing the crop produced to be sold and the money used for overseas program support.  The 2008 project in Chota Peru, received the money from the local project.  Money raised by the 2009 project will be used in Malawi, Africa.
During the week of March 16, representatives of the national FRB organization visited offices in Washington D.C. to explain the FRB program and how it can complement U.S. governmental programs designed to alleviate world hunger.  Visits were made to the offices of Congressman Jerry Moran, R-Hays, Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Senator Sam Brownback, R-Hays. During the week in Washington D.C. John Ward, co-chair of the local FRB board, visited with Congressman Moran who has been a strong supporter of the Reno-McPherson County project.    
Government officials are well aware and approve of the efforts of the FRB.  Until 2008 the United States Agency for International Development matched funds raised by the FRB for overseas food systems development, and FRB officials hope to re-establish the matching program.