Members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports wrote to the leadership of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry urging support to maintain vital funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) important export programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, in the new Farm Bill.
The message advised funding MAP at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current Farm Bill. MAP has been funded annually at this level since fiscal year 2006. In addition, FMD should be funded at no less than $34.5 million, also the same level as in the current Farm Bill. FMD has been funded annually at this level since 2002.
Exports are a vital part of the U.S. economic engine, and agricultural exports continue to be its strongest component. The export forecast for fiscal year 2012 is estimated to be approximately $131 billion, which will be second only to the all-time record level of $137.4 billion achieved in fiscal year 2011. Since its creation in 1985, MAP has proven to be highly successful in helping to boost U.S. agricultural exports, protecting and creating American jobs and increasing farm income. Over this period, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by over 400 percent, and today over 1.1 million Americans have jobs that depend on these exports. According to USDA, each $1 billion in agricultural exports supports approximately 8,400 U.S. jobs. Thousands of small- to medium-size enterprises throughout the country, including family farms, depend on MAP and FMD for export markets.
The groups stated their appreciation of the strong support expressed by Congress each year in fully funding these vital export promotion and market development programs and urge that this be continued.
The American Sheep Industry Association is a member of the coalition and utilizes MAP and FMD funding in its wool- and sheepskin-promotion programs. These programs provide international wool-buyer trade missions to the United States to learn about U.S. wool and reverse pelt and wool trade-missions, among other marketing programs such as, processing trials, trade-servicing, advertising and promotional activities.