On Wednesday, a host of lawmakers, including Washington Representatives Kim Schrier and Dan Newhouse, Kansas Representative Tracey Mann, Minnesota Rep. Brad Finstad, Iowa Representative Ashley Hinson, California's Jimmy Panetta and Jim Costa, as well as Maine's Chellie Pingree, introduced the Agriculture Export Promotion Act of 2023.  The bipartisan legislation looks to increase funding to USDA export promotion programs, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP).  Supporters said both programs are key to helping American farmers maintain an edge in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.


“Programs like the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program are essential for farmers and ranchers in Central Washington and across the country to help expand their customer base and market their products abroad,” Newhouse said. “The Ag Export Promotion Act will further advance the agriculture industry's capabilities to create more good-paying jobs while enabling customers around the world to enjoy Washington's high-quality, nutritious products.”


“Trade promotion is an essential function of a strong Farm Bill,” said Rep. Mann. “The return on investment from private sector contributions, which accounted for roughly 75% of export promotion between 2013 and 2019, is unparalleled. The Ag Export Promotion Act will help agricultural trade associations as they work tirelessly to ensure American producers remain competitive in the international marketplace.”


“As a farmer, I know firsthand the value of the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, both of which are essential tools for Minnesota’s agricultural economy,” Finstad noted. “Strong trade promotion policies are critical for farm country, and the U.S. economy as a whole. Targeted investments in these programs will strengthen our farm, food, and national security by establishing new markets and opening opportunities for our producers to compete on a global stage.”


“The Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program have proven to be valuable tools that help American producers access new export markets while offering a strong return on investment,” said Rep. Hinson. “The Ag Export Promotion Act will help ensure that Iowa farmers have greater resources to remain competitive in the global marketplace, improve food security, and support our rural economy.”


“Farmers, producers, and ranchers around our country depend on the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program to reach markets abroad and grow their businesses at home,” Panetta said. “The bipartisan Ag Export Promotion Act would make significant investments in those programs to ensure that our nation’s farmers and ranchers have access to the tools and resources that they need to compete in the global marketplace. Federal support to secure appropriate market access abroad creates good-paying jobs in the U.S., supports our local economies, and fortifies the future of American agriculture.”


“The Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program have proven to help local farmers and growers in my district bring their top quality products, including apples, cherries, and wheat to customers around the world, unlocking economic opportunity on a global scale for local businesses of the 8th District,” Schrier noted. “I'm proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation that increases funding for these programs to help the agriculture community facing the challenges of rising costs, supply chain issues, and low crop yields.” 

“Opening and growing new markets for American-made products are critical to building our agricultural economy,” Costa added. “Food is a global security issue, and we must do all we can to reverse disruptions in trade and grow new partnerships that help deliver American products around the world.” 

“Wild blueberries, potatoes, and lobsters are some of Maine’s most iconic products in the world market," Pingree noted. "The Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program at USDA have been extremely successful in helping farmers maintain export markets for products such as these. Increased funding for these two programs would provide vital support to farmers, fishers, and others that want to reach new markets abroad.” 


The Market Access Program (MAP) was established in 1985, and allows agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit trade groups, and small businesses to apply for either generic or brand-specific promotion funds to support exporting efforts. Generic commodity funds are issues with a 10% minimum matching fund, while brand-specific funds require a funding match of at least 50%.  The Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP) was first developed in 1955 and is largely used for the promotion of bulk commodities, helping agricultural trade associations establish permanent presences in important markets. It also includes a matching fund requirement.


By the way, companion legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate.


Click Here to learn more about the Agriculture Export Promotion Act of 2023.


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail glenn.vaagen@townsquaremedia.com 


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