Sixty-six House Members wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Monday encouraging him to maintain full funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) in the Administration’s 2011 fiscal year budget proposal, expected out next week.
The bipartisan letter described the importance of the program and agricultural trade, saying “by boosting access to overseas markets through consumer promotion, market research and technical assistance, MAP benefits American farmers and the nation’s economy while improving our trade balance and creating jobs.”
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized MAP at $200 million per year and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program at $34.5 million per year, levels of funding that were ultimately won in the FY2010 appropriations process.
These two programs stand at the core of market development efforts, with MAP money being used to share the costs of overseas market development and promotional activities with U.S. nonprofit agricultural trade organizations and others, and the FMD funds allowing USDA to partner with nonprofit industry groups to focus on reducing overseas market impediments.
NAWG and other agricultural groups are deeply concerned about the program in the FY2011 process since freezes and in some cases cuts are expected throughout government agencies, and NAWG and wheat state associations encouraged Members to sign the letter going to Vilsack.
The letter came just a day before USDA announced it has made FY2010 export promotion allocations, awarding the full $234.5 million from market development programs to 70 U.S. trade organizations.
U.S. Wheat Associates, the industry’s market development organization that works in more than 100 countries, participates in both the MAP and FMD programs, which match producer check off dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions. In FY2010, allocations to U.S. Wheat included slightly less than $5.5 million in MAP funding and $3.8 million in FMD funding. Including carryover funds from FY2009, total MAP funds available to U.S. Wheat are $6.72 million and total FMD funds are $5.47 million.
U.S. Wheat announced at wheat industry meetings held this weekend that a new economic analysis of wheat export promotion activities indicates overall average revenue benefit to the entire wheat industry from the combined producer and FAS expenditures was estimated to be an average of about $115 for each dollar spent.
USW commissioned the study with funding from the MAP program. Dr. Harry M. Kaiser, the Gellert Family Professor of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell and director of the Cornell Commodity Promotion Research Program (CCPRP), designed and conducted the research using established methods he and the CCPRP team developed.
The study also showed that for every dollar producers invested in market development from direct assessment to U.S. Wheat and in-kind contributions, $23 comes back in increased net revenue.
For more on the wheat promotion activities study, please visit www.uswheat.org.
A complete copy of the letter sent by Members this week is available at http://hastings.house.gov/media/pdfs/012510-MAP-Vilsack-letter.pdf