FAO provides essential services to all countries, all forms of agriculture, and should play an active role in advancing agriculture and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There appears to be a lack of coherence in the way core and voluntary funding is shifting the priorities and resources of FAO. It may be timely to consider how the core responsibilities of FAO have been handicapped by flat budgets and short-term, arbitrary resources. Long-term underfunding and human resourcing of the core programs of FAO including statistical data, the IN-FOODS database, plant protection, crop production, livestock, forestry and fisheries remain acute while other programs are growing. In particular, success at the global normative role of FAO underpins the success of smallholder farmers, family farmers, and all food producers.