Coalition calls for support of U.S. export programs

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports asked U.S. legislators in an April 19th letter to maintain funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export programs when the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry considers reauthorization of a new Farm Bill.

The coalition members called specifically for funding the Market Access Program (MAP) at no less than $200 million annually and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program at no less than $34.5 million, the same funding levels in the current Farm Bill.

“We were very pleased to see full funding for MAP and FMD in the Farm Bill draft Chairwoman Stabenow released late last Friday,” said coalition chairman Mike Wootton, a senior vice-president with Sunkist Growers cooperative. “We urged the entire committee to support that position.”

That is important, Wootton said, because foreign governments are seeking to emulate the success of MAP and FMD with their own competing programs.

MAP and FMD are distinct programs administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service that address different aspects of export market development. The programs bring together non-profit U.S. agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit state-regional trade groups, small businesses and USDA to develop results-oriented, strategic plans and share the costs of implementing them to support the U.S. agricultural industry’s international marketing, the coalition said.

“More than 1.1 million Americans have jobs that depend on agricultural exports,” the organizations said. “We are strongly supportive of the Administration’s commendable goal through the National Export initiative of doubling U.S. exports over five years. For U.S. agriculture, MAP and FMD are key tools in making this a successful effort.”

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