NAWG joined more than 100 other members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports in writing key agriculture appropriators last week to urge continued strong support for USDA export development programs in the 2011 fiscal year appropriations cycle.
In the letter, addressed to Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), the groups laid out a compelling argument for both the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, cost-share programs used by commodity organizations to promote their products overseas.
The groups asked that MAP be fully funded at its authorized level of $200 million and that FMD be funded at a minimum of its authorized level, $34.5 million, and, if possible, at the higher level of $69 million proposed by the Obama Administration in its FY2011 budget.
MAP and FMD stand at the core of U.S. 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 FMD funds allowing USDA to partner with nonprofit industry groups to focus on reducing overseas market impediments.
The groups writing this week told appropriators that since MAP’s creation in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by nearly 300 percent, and today nearly 900,000 Americans have jobs that depend on these exports.
A recent study by IHS Global Insight, commissioned by USDA and released in March, found that the increase in market development spending through MAP and FMD since 2002 increased the annual value of U.S. agricultural exports by $6.1 billion. The study also found that over the 2002-2009 period export gains associated with the programs increased the average annual level of U.S. farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and net cash farm income by $1.5 billion.
For every additional $1 expended by government and industry on market development during this period, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35. At the same time, the study also found that U.S. domestic farm support payments were reduced by roughly $54 million annually due to higher prices from increased demand abroad, thus reducing the net cost of farm programs.
Another recent study showed that, in the case of the wheat industry’s efforts using MAP, FMD and producer dollars expended by U.S. Wheat Associates, overall average revenue benefit to the entire wheat industry is estimated to be an average of about $115 for each dollar spent.
NAWG is highly supportive of full funding, as authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, for both MAP and FMD and will continue frequent work with U.S. Wheat and other coalition partners to demonstrate the value of these programs as the appropriations process moves forward.
A copy of the full letter sent last week is at www.wheatworld.org/trade.