WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2017 – Organizations representing producers of U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat offered strong support for legislation introduced in the Senate today that would double funding for two federal cost-share programs designed to spur overseas demand for the nation’s three biggest crops and other agricultural products.
The bipartisan legislation – the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act – was introduced by Sens. Angus King, I-Maine; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. The so-called CREAATE Act would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.
“MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports,” Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, said in a release. “These programs deliver a strong return on investment. Every $1 invested in MAP and FMD generates $28 in export – that means more American jobs, and more money coming into our communities. Now more than ever, we need to invest in export and market development programs like these to build global demand and help farmers’ bottom lines.”
NCGA pointed out that the programs have failed to keep pace with inflation, administrative costs, the growth of the global marketplace, or the investments other countries have made in their own export promotion. In addition, the group said the FMD program is under threat to lose its baseline funding when the current farm bill expires in 2018.
The CREAATE Act would gradually increase MAP funding from $200 million to $400 million per year and FMD funding from $34.5 million to $69 million per year, over the next five years. NCGA said the public-private partnerships are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue – $309 billion since 1977.
“These are programs that yield exponential benefits for farmers and for our economy,” John Heisdorffer, vice president of the American Soybean Association, said in a release. “These dollars have gone to expanding overseas demand in the fields of animal agriculture, cooking oils, and the emerging field of aquaculture, which will be key as our industry works to provide protein to a growing global population in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers also welcomed the Senate legislation.
“With the United States exporting 50 percent of its wheat, a strong trade agenda is essential for growing and opening new markets for wheat growers abroad,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “MAP and the FMD program have proven to have excellent return on investment and increase the global demand for wheat while raising farm income here at home. These programs provide the U.S. agricultural community with the tools needed to retain its edge in an increasingly competitive global economy.”
The Senate version of the CREAATE Act accompanies similar legislation introduced in May by Reps. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
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