WASHINGTON, April 24 - Despite repeated attempts by some lawmakers to cut agricultural export promotion funds, the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 Farm Bill mark keeps funding at current levels for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program. The MAP is funded at a minimum of $200 million annually and the FMD program at no less than $34.5 million.
As a result, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, and Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, are winning kudos in a letter from the Agricultural Export Coalition.
“We were very pleased to see full funding for MAP and FMD in the Farm Bill draft Chairwoman Stabenow released late last Friday,” wrote coalition chairman Mike Wootton, a senior vice president with Sunkist Growers cooperative. “We urged the entire committee to support that position.”
That is important, Wootton said, because foreign governments are seeking to emulate the success of MAP and FMD with their own competing programs.
The letter cited a recent study by IHS Global Insight finding that MAP and FMD provide substantial return on investment. The USDA-commissioned study showed that increased MAP and FMD spending in market development since 2002 substantially increased U.S. export market share and increased U.S. agricultural export value by $6.1 billion per year.
The study also found that export gains between 2002 and 2009 substantially increased U.S farm cash receipts and net income that, in turn, reduced U.S. domestic farm support payments and the net cost of farm programs by $54 million per year. Overall, the study showed, for every additional $1 expended by government and industry on market development during this period, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35.
For more on the letter and supporting documents, click:
Congressman Steve King is an outspoken conservative member of the House Agriculture Committee. In this week's Open Mic, the Iowa Republican shares his observations about the farm bill that the committee wrote last week. King put through an egg amendment that may keep states from imposing standards that restrict commerce with other states. He also wants to cut the cost of SNAP and reduce other expenditures as well. King,
who is in line to be chairman when the next farm bill comes up in 2018, also discusses how committee membership has changed.