A bipartisan bill, Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act of 2022, introduced by Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would double funding for USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.
The bill would double mandatory annual funding of MAP to $400 million and FMD to $69 million. Both programs are critical to expanding global market access, according to agricultural groups and supporters.
A recent econometric study conducted by agricultural economists at IHS Market and Texas A&M University predicted that doubling funding for these programs would generate an additional $44.4 billion in U.S. agricultural exports over the 2024 to 2029 time period. This would directly benefit farmers, livestock producers, dairy operators and small businesses as they work to maintain and expand their global presence.
USDA recently cut its fiscal 2022 agricultural export forecast and projected an agricultural trade deficit for fiscal 2023. U.S. agriculture has for decades had a trade surplus.
Robbie Minnich, National Cotton Council’s senior government relations representative who chairs the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, says, “global competitors keep spending more to promote their exports, but MAP funding hasn’t been increased since 2006 and FMD funding hasn’t changed for two decades.”
He also notes that if the programs did not work to open and expand markets for American agricultural products, the private sector would not continue to invest more than 70% of the total funding each year.
Each year, wheat growers contribute a portion of their wheat sales which qualifies U.S. Wheat Associates to apply for MAP and FMD program funds along with more than 60 other U.S. agricultural export promotion organizations. Unfortunately, inflation, sequestration and administrative costs have sapped the value of the program funds over many years, USW says.
MAP funding has not been increased from $200 million since 2006 and FMD funding has not changed from $34.5 million since 2002, but our foreign competition in most global markets including wheat has grown,” said USW Chairperson Rhonda K. Larson, a wheat grower from East Grand Forks, N.D. “To manage that challenge over the years, USW has closed offices and reduced staff to protect wheat export demand in our top markets. With additional MAP and FMD funds, we could expand our promotion effort to more commercial markets.”
USW also uses MAP and FMD funding to enable greater use of U.S. wheat in food aid programs that have taken on increased significance with the disruption of global wheat trade by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Our food aid programs are the best suited for U.S. wheat to help support the humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict and for on-going food insecurity,” said Nicole Berg, National Association of Wheat Growers President and a wheat grower from Paterson, Wash. “Looking ahead to the 2023 Farm Bill legislation, our food aid programs must receive continued support and MAP and FMD programs dollars must be enhanced to support the effort to promote U.S. wheat and other agricultural products.”
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner says the bill’s “long-needed increase in funding” for MAP and FMD would help America’s farmers, ranchers and growers expand markets overseas for this country’s agricultural bounty. “This is especially vital as foreign competitors continue to spend substantially more on market development and promotion of their food and ag exports than the U.S. does,” he says.
The CREAATE legislation must now be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House.