WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Eighty members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports expressed their strong opposition to a proposed amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that would reduce annual funding for the Market Access Program by $40 million and prohibit the use of MAP funds for certain activities.

“Reducing funding for MAP would seriously undermine U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in this highly competitive international marketplace,” the coalition wrote in a June 13 letter addressed to Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Pat Roberts, ranking minority member on the Committee.

The coalition, which includes U.S. Wheat Associates, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Corn Growers Association, noted that MAP has been funded at $200 million annually since 2006. Reducing the amount when American agriculture and American workers continue to face increasingly strong international competition supported by considerable government–supported financial resources doesn’t make sense.

“(MAP) has been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded foreign competitors,” the coalition said.

The letter stressed MAP’s role as a “very efficient, cost-effective program,” saying participants are required to carefully evaluate and make strategic adjustments to their activities every year, with plans then submitted to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for review.

“MAP is a proven tool U.S. agriculture must have to compete in the international marketplace where our competitors continue to use their considerable government-supported financial resources to gain market share,” the coalition said. “We strongly urge that MAP continue to be funded in S. 3240 at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current farm bill and the level approved in April by the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.”