Washington, D.C. (June 19,2012)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today reiterated its opposition to Senate amendment 2289 to S. 3240, the farm bill, that directly targets USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) that has helped individual farmers and ranchers, through their co-ops, develop export markets for U.S. agricultural products.
The amendment, introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), would reduce funding for MAP by $40 million per year from current levels and arbitrarily prohibit funds from being used on a range of activities to promote U.S. products in foreign countries.
“NCFC vigorously opposes the Coburn-McCain amendment that would fundamentally weaken the ability of farmers to participate in important USDA programs through their co-ops,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner. “Through their co-ops, individual family farmers are able to do things together that they would never be able to do on their own, including taking advantage of the opportunities provided by a global marketplace.”
“The MAP amendment has seen the opponents of the program use half-truths, distortions and outright falsehoods to paint a negative picture of the program,” Conner continued. “The reality is that MAP is a program that delivers tremendous value not only to the producers, co-ops and small businesses who participate, but to the country as a whole. MAP has been shown to return $35 in added agricultural exports for every $1 spent, a 35 to 1 return on investment.”
NCFC is a national association representing America’s farmer cooperatives. There are nearly 3,000 farmer cooperatives across the U.S. whose members include a majority of our nation’s more than 2 million farmers, ranchers and growers. These farmer cooperative businesses handle, process, and market agricultural commodities and related products; furnish farm supplies; and provide credit and associated financial services. Earnings from these activities are returned to their members on a patronage basis. Farmer cooperatives also provide jobs for nearly 250,000 Americans, many in rural areas, with a combined payroll of over $8 billion.