Ag groups remind appropriators to maintain export market development funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. — American farmers and rural businesses need continued investment in the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program to make up for lost export opportunities in the pandemic and to fight foreign competition. That is the message the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports sent March 9 in letters to House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee leaders signed by 130 agricultural organizations.
MAP and FMD are cost-share export market development programs funded in the 2018 Farm Bill and administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
“Studies show these public-private programs provide a rate of return that far exceeds their public expense,” said Robbie Minnich, coalition chair and senior government relations representative at National Cotton Council, in a news release. “Our organizations are asking the leadership to provide $255 million for Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation apportioned under the Farm Bill, and from that amount MAP should receive at least $200 million and the FMD program receive at least $34.5 million.”
The letters state that MAP and FMD industry participants now provide 73% or total funding. Yet many of the co-signing organizations expect intense foreign export competition as markets reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Union, for example, announced in December that it will allocate the equivalent of $222 million to promote agri-food products in China, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Mexico.
“We finally see new opportunities to start overcoming two and a half years of trade conflict and pandemic restrictions,” Minnich said. “fully funded export programs are critical to help U.S. farmers, ranchers and food exporters keep pace with the rest of the world’s exporting countries.”
For more information about the MAP and FMD programs and their success, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs.asp. For more information about how export market development programs benefit American agriculture, visit www.agexportscount.com.