By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager/Reporter
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service has awarded funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for American products.
“The Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs help agricultural organizations representing thousands of producers and businesses open and grow markets for American products around the world,” Vilsack said. “Exports create jobs and foster growth that is critically important for rural communities and our entire nation’s economy.”
Through the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Agricultural Service partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. The program, which focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities. Through MAP, the Foreign Agricultural Service will provide $173.2 million to 62 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. Participants contribute an average 214 percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.
The Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under FMD, also known as the Cooperator Program, the Foreign Agricultural Service will allocate $26.7 million to 22 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations called cooperators. The organizations, which on average contribute nearly triple the amount they receive in federal resources, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase the demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.
USDA’s international market development programs have had a significant and positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2010 found that trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD provide $35 in economic benefits for every dollar spent by government and industry on market development.
The past six years represent the strongest period for U.S. agricultural exports in the history of the United States. Farm exports in fiscal year 2014 reached a record $152.5 billion and supported 1 million jobs in the United States.