Over 130 agricultural organizations are calling on the House and Senate to fully fund the USDA’s export programs, Foreign Market Development program at $34.5 million and the Market Access Program at $200 million. These programs are used to establish and expand overseas markets and for product promotion. The organizations reminded the Congress that U.S. agriculture faces increasingly strong international competition supported by government-sponsored activities.
A 2013 study found that the EU and 12 other countries spent an estimated $1.8 billion in public ($700 million) and private ($1.1 billion) funds. This compares to the $650 million, including $256 million in public funds and $394 million in private investment, spent by the United States. A study commissioned by the USDA found that FMD and MAP programs increased agricultural exports by $35 for every additional $1 spent or a 35-to-1 return on investment. Those signing the letter include American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Cotton Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Renderers Association, National Turkey Federation, North American Meat Institute and U.S. Meat Export Federation.