Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) awarded $198.2 million for fiscal year 2013 funding to more than 70 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for their goods.
The provision included two 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. These funds are key to develop U.S. wool exports and are used for important trade missions to bring new foreign buyers to the United States to learn more about U.S. wool.
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.