Export coalition strongly opposes cuts to Market Access Program
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WASHINGTON, June 14, 2012- The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports strongly opposes the amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to the “Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012” (S.3240) to reduce annual funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $40 million and prohibit the use of MAP funds for certain activities.
Eighty members of the coalition voiced their opposition in a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) yesterday.
The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports is an ad hoc coalition of organizations representing farmers and ranchers, fishermen and forest product producers, cooperatives, small businesses, regional trade organizations, and the State Departments of Agriculture.
“Reducing funding for MAP would seriously undermine U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in this highly competitive international marketplace,” the letter said. “It is a very efficient, cost-effective program.”
The coalition also noted that under MAP, participants must carefully evaluate and adjust all export market development activities every year. The participants submit plans to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which reviews every promotional activity to determine their eligibility and ability to help increase demand for U.S. agricultural exports. This analysis, in conjunction with feedback from FAS overseas officers, determines whether activities merit funding.
MAP “has been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded foreign competitors,” the organizations said.
“We strongly urge that MAP continue to be funded in S. 3240 at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current Farm Bill,” concluded the letter.
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