Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2011)—As Congress begins the FY 2012 appropriations process, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today focused on the importance of agricultural market development programs that serve as a catalyst for American farmers and ranchers to succeed in a global marketplace. In particular, NCFC urged that the agriculture appropriations bill currently being developed in the House preserve full funding as set forth in the farm bill for both the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.
“MAP and FMD play an important role in connecting American producers with customers in foreign markets and in helping those farmers and the co-ops they own to capitalize on new opportunities for growing demand,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “In addition, MAP and FMD represent a successful private/public partnership, and provide the American taxpayer with a tremendous return on their investment—a recent study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that for every dollar spent on programs like MAP and FMD, 35 dollars in agricultural exports are generated, which amounts to a 35 to 1 return on investment. We would be wise to invest in federal programs with that rate of return.”
MAP and FMD also help to boost the overall economy, Conner noted, since every billion dollars in U.S. agricultural exports creates nearly 8,400 jobs. The benefits extend from the farms where the crops are grown, to the factories where the crops are processed, to the ports where the finished goods are exported.
“These programs also enable America to compete with, and excel against, our foreign competitors, who in many cases are greatly outspending the U.S. in promoting their own agricultural exports,” concluded Conner. “I strongly urge the members of the House Appropriations Committee to continue their strong support of agricultural producers and the goal of boosting exports and creating jobs by maintaining funding for MAP and FMD in the year ahead.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.