WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) on June 20 thanked the National Corn Growers Association, the National Sorghum Producers, the National Barley Growers Association, and other allied organizations for their support of the Market Access Program (MAP) during the U.S. Senate debate on the pending Farm Bill.

The 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240) is currently under consideration in the Senate and is drawing heated debate.  Among the many amendments was one that called for slashing MAP funding by 20% ($40 million annually). The amendment would also have imposed arbitrary limitations on which international marketing activities could utilize the remaining funds. Thanks to effective advocacy by a wide range of groups supportive of U.S. export promotion efforts, the amendment was defeated today by a vote of 30 ayes to 69 nays, USGC said.

“MAP funding in conjunction with other smaller funding programs has been an important contributor to the success of U.S. coarse grain and DDGS exports worldwide. U.S. agriculture trade is one of the few U.S. trade areas that maintains a surplus. Without MAP funding, U.S. grains exports will face a much tougher uphill battle,” said Dr. Wendell Shauman, USGC chairman.

Trade enhances global prosperity, expands U.S. exports, and promotes jobs and economic growth at home.  Many U.S. companies, trade associations, and federal, state, and local governments work to increase opportunities for U.S. exporters.  Some of these efforts promote the sale of particular products or brands. Others are broader in scope and promote entire industry sectors or a “made in the USA” brand.

MAP is a longstanding program through which the Foreign Agricultural Service has partnered with “co-operator” organizations to work jointly on projects of mutual interest. The USGC has utilized MAP funding for a variety of programs that expand and defend export markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and other value added products.  The council’s current programs encompass more than 50 countries.