With the 2018 Farm Bill on the horizon, proposed budget cuts to programs supporting agricultural exports threaten the ability of U.S. farmers to remain competitive in the global market.
Imagine leaving the field at the end of a long day of planting or harvest to conduct international trade negotiations or to develop consumer advertising and marketing campaigns abroad, plan international public relations programs, participate in international trade fairs or implement global market research studies.
Our independent and family farmers spend their days working the land, raising crops to feed local communities and the world. They work sun up to sun down and simply do not have the ability to build and maintain global markets for their goods. Doing so would be cost and time prohibitive.
Impact of Agricultural Trade
Agricultural and food products contribute a tremendous proportion to the U.S. economy. Without these programs, our farmers, our communities and our country would not be able to depend on international agricultural trade. According to the American Farm Bureau, more than 20 percent of our agricultural production is exported in global markets. Agricultural exports contributed about $130 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, according to the USDA. That figure that has begun to slip in recent years due to factors such as increasing competition in the global market and falling prices for key commodities such as wheat.
Trade Programs Our Farmers and Our Economy
It’s not the right time to cut federal support for international trade when the U.S. needs to work harder to remain competitive in the global market. This is where federal agricultural trade programs become vital. Programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP) the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program are public-private partnerships between the U.S. government and agricultural producers designed to help build and maintain global export markets for our agricultural goods. Studies have shown that on average, every $1 spent on market development sees a return of $35 in economic benefits.
Without funding for MAP and FDM, we put our farmers, our farming communities and our agricultural industry at risk.
What is MAP?
The Market Access Program (MAP) helps build global export markets for a wide variety of U.S. agricultural and packaged food products. Through MAP, the USDA’s Federal Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with agricultural trade associations, state and regional agricultural groups and small businesses to help spread the financial costs and time required by overseas marketing efforts to promote U.S. agricultural products. Agricultural groups or organizations pay dues contribute a minimum of 10 percent to MAP’s cost-share marketing and promotion activities. Branded products must match cost sharing dollar to dollar.
What is FMD?
Unlike MAP’s specific marketing and promotion functions, the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program operates with long-term objectives to create, expand and maintain export markets for U.S. agricultural products. The FMD program focuses on U.S. commodity goods on generic U.S. crops represented by non-profit trade associations, not branded products. The program works to expand export opportunities and reduce import constraints in foreign markets.