Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced the allocation of $234.5 million to 70 U.S. trade organizations to help promote American food and agricultural products overseas.
The provision included two Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) programs: the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Cooperator Program. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) was awarded funds through both programs.
The MAP program utilizes matching organizational funding as a means of cost-sharing overseas marketing and promotional activities. ASI uses MAP funding for projects such as top-combing and scouring trials, trade show participation, trade missions and reverse trade missions.
The FMD Cooperator Program focuses on reducing market impediments and identifying new markets or uses for U.S. products.
Sixty-six members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack requesting full funding for MAP emphasizing the importance of the program to rural economies and trade-dependent states.