ASI Awarded Portion of $141 Million Export Allocation
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced June 21 that more than $141 million worth of funding would be given to 70 U.S. trade organizations to promote U.S. agriculture-products overseas.
The 2005 fiscal year allocations will be administered under the Foreign Agricultural Service?s Market Access Program (MAP) and Quality Samples Program (QSP).
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) received increased funding in both program areas resulting in awards of $389,697 and $340,000 for MAP and QSP, respectively.
?This is extremely important funding for the U.S. wool industry as it continues to explore new markets. The programs are particularly effective when investigating markets that are either high-risk or developing, like China and India,? comments Rita Kourlis Samuelson, deputy director of operations and wool marketing for ASI.
The MAP program utilizes matching organizational funding as a means of cost-sharing overseas marketing and promotional activities. ASI uses this funding for projects such as top-combing and scouring trials, trade-show participation, trade missions and reverse-trade missions. QSP funding enables U.S. exporters to provide foreign importers with wool samples.
Announcement of USDA Farm Bill Forums
Announcement of USDA Farm Bill Forums
August 2005 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced on June 16 the first Farm Bill Forum and the topics on which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be seeking input from America?s farmers, ranchers and rural residents regarding the development of the 2007 Farm Bill.
?The next farm bill will affect America?s entire agricultural community,? said Johanns. ?That?s why I want to ask America?s farmers and ranchers how our farm policy is working and how we can make it better. I believe very strongly that they deserve a voice in this process.?
Throughout 2005, Johanns and other senior USDA officials will participate in the Farm Bill Forums to be held across the country. The dates, locations and times of the forums will be announced as they are scheduled and listed on the USDA Web site at www.usda.gov.
The primary topics addressed at the forums will reflect various concerns affecting rural America, such as commodity, conservation and rural economic development issues. In addition, some forums will be dedicated to important programs authorized by the Farm Bill, such as food assistance, research and education programs.
USDA is seeking public discussion on farm policy considerations regarding: the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture in global and domestic markets; challenges facing new farmers and ranchers as they enter agriculture; appropriateness and effectiveness of the distribution of farm program benefits; achievement of conservation and environmental goals; and enhancement of rural economic growth and opportunities to expand agricultural products, markets and research.
Comments are accepted at public forums and may also be submitted electronically at the USDA home page, www.usda.gov, by selecting ?Farm Bill Forums.?
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner announced on June 14 the selection of 35 loan and grant recipients in 18 states that will receive $16.3 million in rural business-develop funds. The loans and grants will support economic and community development and assist in the creation or saving of more than 3,000 rural jobs as part of the Bush Administration?s ongoing efforts to spur economic development in rural areas.
?Economic vitality of rural America depends on local business and community leaders having the resources to increase economic opportunities and improve the quality of life,? says Conner. ?These loan and grant investments will allow for the creation and retention of thousands of rural jobs.?
Funding of selected applicants will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the loan and/or grant agreement. A complete list of selected recipients can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov.
The U.S. Senate voted on June 28 in support of a comprehensive national energy policy with a strong commitment to renewable energy, including a renewable fuels provision that will help lessen our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen energy security, increase farm income, help the environment and create jobs.
?I commend the U.S. Senate for passing this important legislation, which will allow our nation?s producers of ethanol and bio-diesel to play a role in decreasing America?s need for imported oil,? says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.