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USDA, USTR seek trade advisory committee nominations

Legislative Watch: Agricultural Policy and Agricultural Technical Advisory; USDA invests in trade promotion programs; 2022 ag census; 118th Congress convenes.

P. Scott Shearer

December 30, 2022

3 Min Read
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The USDA and USTR are accepting applications for new members to serve on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee and the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee advises the administration on implementation and enforcement of existing trade agreements, negotiations on new agreements and other trade policy issues.

The ATACs provides technical advice on international trade issues that affect specific commodity sectors: animals and animal products; fruit and vegetables; grains, feed, oilseeds, and planting seeds; processed foods; sweeteners and sweetener products; and tobacco, cotton, and peanuts.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, have expertise in U.S. agriculture, experience in international trade, and qualify for a security clearance. Membership is for four years.

Application instructions are available here. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, 2023. 

USDA invests in trade promotion programs
The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service recently announced it would be awarding $202.7 million to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand export markets for U.S. farm and food products through the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. 

MAP funds are used by U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses for overseas marketing and promotional activities. The top recipients of MAP funds will be the Cotton Council International, U.S. Meat Export Federation, Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, Food Export USA NE, U.S. Grains Council, Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association, Wine Institute and American Soybean Association. 

FMD funds are used by non-profit commodity or trade associations to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. The top recipients of FMD funds will be the American Soybean Association; Cotton Council International; U.S. Wheat Associates; U.S. Grains Council; American Hardwood Export Council, APA - The Engineered Wood Association, Softwood Export Council and Southern Forest Products Association; USA Rice Federation and U.S. Meat Export Federation.

A recent study conducted by IHS Markit in cooperation with Gary Williams and Oral Capps at Texas A&M University, found that foreign market development investment through the MAP and FMD programs contributes $45 billion annually in economic output and $22.3 billion annually in gross domestic product, creating U.S. jobs and increasing farm cash receipts.

USDA mails 2022 ag census
The USDA recently mailed the 2022 Census of Agriculture paper questionnaires to producers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Producers have the option to respond either by completing the ag census or by responding online. The deadline is Feb. 6, 2023. 

Hubert Hamer, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Administrator, said, "We encourage producers to respond online. We know producers are busy, which is why NASS worked to make responding to the ag census more convenient than ever before. The online questionnaire is secure and user friendly with several time saving features, such as skipping questions that do not pertain to the operation, pre-filling some information with previously reported data, and automatically calculating totals."

Farm operations which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022, are included in the ag census.

118th Congress convenes Jan. 3
The 118th Congress will convene on Jan. 3 to swear in new members. The first order of business for the House is to elect the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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