WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2015 — USDA has announced the award of $200 million to U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand markets for U.S. goods in fiscal year 2016.

The department’s Foreign Agriculture Service will provide $172.8 million through the Market Access Program (MAP) to 62 nonprofit groups and co-ops to help producers with activities to promote their products overseas. Activities can include market research, technical assistance, and support for participation in trade fairs and exhibits. MAP participants contribute an average 137 percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar–for–dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives, USDA said in a release. For a list of the

In addition, a separate initiative – the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) -- will provide   $27.5 million to 23 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. The groups include the American Soybean Association, USA Rice Federation and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The program focuses on generic promotion of U.S. commodities, rather than consumer–oriented promotion of branded products. Preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. The organizations, which contribute an average 184 percent cost share, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas, USDA said.

"USDA continues to expand markets for American goods abroad, work aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assist U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "Together market access and market development activities can help agricultural organizations representing thousands of producers and businesses open and grow markets for American products around the world."

USDA points out that international market development programs have had a significant and positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2010 found that trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD provide $35 in economic benefits for every one dollar spent by government and industry on market development.

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In the release, the department noted that the past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the country’s history. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide – the third highest level ever. USDA says those exports supported nearly 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the nearly 11.3 million jobs supported by exports all across the country.

To learn more about MAP, FMD and other FAS programs, visit www.fas.usda.gov.