April 28, 2006 -- A coalition of agricultural organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), is in the final stages of submitting a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies members, regarding funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture export programs. The letter urges the subcommittee to strongly support the funding for the U.S. Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program as the subcommittee considers the fiscal year 2007 agricultural appropriations bill.
The coalition requests that MAP be funded at no less than $200 million and that FMD should be funded at its full level of $34.5 million, the amounts authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill.
By any measure, these programs have been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect American jobs and strengthen farm income.
ASI utilizes these matching-funds programs as a means of cost-sharing promotional and marketing activities overseas for wool and pelts. MAP and FMD are among the few tools specifically allowed under World Trade Organization rules to help American agriculture and American workers remain competitive in a global marketplace still characterized by subsidized foreign competition.
?Farm income and agriculture?s economic well-being depend heavily on exports,? says Jim Bristol, chair of the ASI wool council. ?During development of the 2002 Farm Bill, Congress recognized the importance of U.S. agricultural exports by approving an increase in funding for MAP and FMD.?
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33