Market development and promotion is vital to maintaining and expanding U.S. agricultural exports. Programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, both administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, help achieve this goal while at the same time protecting American jobs and strengthening farm income.
NCFC urges Congress to provide no less than $255 million annually for Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation, with the funding for MAP and FMD at no less than $200 million and $34.5 million, respectively. However, an increase in those levels through discretionary spending is warranted to cover USDA/FAS administrative costs, as using program funds has reduced the funds available for market development. Those administrative costs amounted to $7 million in FY 2020.
NCFC also strongly supports increased funding beyond the $200 million for MAP and $34.5 million for FMD annually in the next farm bill as those programs are entering a third decade without increase. Adjusted for inflation and for sequestration, the real dollar value of each program continues to diminish. Fully one-third of MAP funding has been lost to sequestration, inflation, and program administration. FMD hasn’t had a raise in 19 years and MAP has been at the same funding level since 2006. While USDA’s recently announced use of $1.2 billion in CCC funds to fund market development through a new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) will be very helpful in the industry’s efforts to expand exports, NCFC still encourages Congress to provide longer term increase in funding for MAP and FMD through the farm bill.
Programs like MAP and FMD are essential to building on the success of expanding exports of U.S. agricultural products, increasing farm income, and spurring the creation of jobs in the United States. Given the economic activity generated by agricultural exports and the direct benefit to farmers and ranchers, programs that have such a positive impact in creating jobs and supporting rural communities, and that have such a strong return on investment, should be sustained.
With over 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, foreign markets are critical for U.S. agriculture to expand sales and boost incomes. Exports account for about one-third of all farm cash receipts, making U.S. agriculture about twice as reliant on overseas markets as the economy overall.
The ability of farmer cooperatives to use MAP funding allows their individual farmer-owners to have a direct stake in the global marketplace. Individual producers, who do not have the resources or production volume to export on their own, are able to use co-ops to leverage strength in numbers. For example, farmer co-ops are able to build brands that differentiate products and build consumer loyalty overseas. Co-ops then use the earnings from these overseas sales to increase the patronage dividends paid to farmers. In this way, individual producers can capture more of the food dollar from beyond the farm gate. Both MAP and FMD are administered on a cost-share basis and have been tremendously successful and cost- effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, which has since declined from a record of $196 billion in FY 2022.