Roberts presented global child nutrition lifetime achievement award |

Roberts presented global child nutrition lifetime achievement award

In a heartfelt ceremony, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation presented its Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on Wednesday.

In a speech before her father was introduced, Ashleigh Black, Roberts's daughter told the story of her father taking her against her will to hear Norman Borlaug, the founder of the green revolution, speak.

Black said she was headed with friends to see the movie "Top Gun" when Roberts surprised her with a father-daughter outing, saying she should forget going to see Tom Cruise, because she was going to see a real hero.

Black, who has worked for the World Food Programme in Rome and now works for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said that hearing Borlaug contributed to her decision to work in agriculture and nutrition.

In his acceptance speech, Roberts noted that the full name of the committee he chairs is the Senate Commmittee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He also pointed out that a farmer in Cheyenne County, Kan., came up with the idea for the U.S. Food for Peace program in 1953.

Roberts devoted a significant amount of his speech to the importance of his staff, particularly Julian Baer, who has left to work for the state government in Maine.

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He acknowledged that the Trump administration had proposed cutting out some food aid in its fiscal year 2019 budget, but said "we have thrown that back over the transom."

Maintaining funding for food aid including international school meals "isn't going to be easy, but we've done it before so we will do it again," he said.

Roberts added he intends to "ride point" on the issue in the upcoming farm bill debate, and told the many agribusiness executives who attended the event that he needs them to be part of his posse.