WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The following organizations have released statements concerning the USDA’s establishment of the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program. “The new $1.3 billion investment in a Regional Agricultural Promotion Program, or RAPP, will enable exporters to break into new markets and increase market share in growth markets,” stated the USDA in a recent press release.
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The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture applauds Secretary Vilsack for establishing the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program to better promote America’s food and agriculture products in demand across the globe.
“It’s important to know that for every $1 invested in export market development programs, $24 is returned in export revenue. Simply put, this program is a win for farmers, ranchers and the American economy because it will increase income and create more American jobs in the farm and food sector,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said. “This program will build upon the success of the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, which is projected to generate $6.44 billion in farm cash receipts and nearly 14,780 jobs annually.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA will utilize $1.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to fund a Regional Agricultural Promotion Program aimed at diversifying export markets for U.S. agricultural products.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:
USMEF thanks Secretary Vilsack and the staff at USDA for prioritizing international market development by making these funds available through the Commodity Credit Corporation. The USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program have a proven track record of providing excellent, value-added returns to U.S. producers, and more recently the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) helped U.S. agriculture overcome trade obstacles and develop new markets. With ATP funding coming to the end, new investments in foreign market development are very timely and much appreciated. We also thank Congressional leaders for their support of this program and for their continued support of MAP and FMD funding.
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its plan to use Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to create the Regional Agriculture Promotion Program (RAPP) – a $1.3 billion program to assist agricultural groups in marketing their commodities overseas. In addition, and under the RAPP program, USDA will also provide $1 billion in commodity-based international food aid.
In response to the announcement, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) thanked the USDA:
“The U.S. Grains Council thanks Secretary Vilsack and the USDA for continuing to promote market development through providing a new program funding source,” said USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “The success of the Council would not be possible without its partners in both the public and private sector, and we look forward to expanding exports of corn, sorghum, barley and their co-products with this new source of funding, however, there is still a need to increase long-term funding of the MAP and FMD programs in a new farm bill.”
Like the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funds that were first distributed in 2019, RAPP funding from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will supplement the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds the Council relies on annually to help its members expand markets for grains in all forms and its international partners to serve their local consumers.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) praised today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it plans to devote $2.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation to promoting better market opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers and expanding food aid to support communities in need around the world.
The expanded export support program and food aid were requested by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Ranking Member Sen. John Boozman, R-AR, in late August. USDA will devote $1.3 billion to establishing a Regional Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, and $1 billion to commodity-based international food aid.
“The U.S. dairy community is grateful for the USDA’s decision to invest in supporting the cultivation of enhanced international market opportunities for America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives. We thank Senators Stabenow and Boozman for their initiative in encouraging USDA to pursue this course of action,” said NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Now more than ever, the U.S. dairy industry relies on exports. If distributed to those sectors that are presently underfunded such as dairy, the new export promotion funding will put us in a better position to compete globally and grow our consumer base. NMPF encourages Congress to build on today’s announcement by USDA to also deliver additional funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program in the development of the next Farm Bill.”
NMPF, USDEC and other agricultural leaders are advocating for Congress to double funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program – the two programs have not received a raise in over 16 years, despite offering consistent returns on investment.
“Farmers, manufacturers and workers up and down the dairy supply chain benefit from expanded trade opportunities that help the industry thrive in today’s global economy,” said USDEC president and CEO Krysta Harden. “We’re thankful that USDA is taking this important step to support American Agriculture and appreciate Senators Stabenow and Boozman elevating the importance of using CCC resources to fund programs that will strengthen the U.S. dairy industry through the creation of new markets and the promotion of nutritional dairy-containing products in food aid. We look forward to continuing to work together to level the playing field for America’s dairy farmers and producers.”
The American Soybean Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to strengthen U.S. trade and food aid by providing funds to maintain and develop markets and address global hunger. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $2.3 billion will be allocated from the Commodity Credit Corporation, $1.3 billion of which will go toward the Regional Agriculture Promotion Program and diversification of specialty crop export markets, the balance toward international food assistance.
ASA President Daryl Cates, who grows soybeans in Illinois, said, “America’s soybean farmers rely on strong existing export markets and opportunities to open and build new markets. It can take decades to grow markets for our beans and only a matter of days in some cases to lose them, so having the funds to sufficiently support export promotion programs is something ASA and soy growers have consistently championed. And, as both an industry that participates in food aid programs and as human beings, we are pleased to see the administration looking for additional ways to help us address global food insecurity.”
Cates says he and others in the soy industry are happy to see USDA acknowledging the uncertainty that surrounds agriculture and challenges that arise from that unpredictability, and that the department has conveyed through its funding infusion the importance of market development programs.
“USDA has demonstrated that it recognizes the importance of market promotion programs. We are thankful USDA sees value in the collective efforts of the Foreign Agricultural Service and agriculture cooperators like the American Soybean Association, which are stewards of market development funding and bring vital aid programs and market expansion projects to life,” said Cates.
ASA remains committed to its trade and food aid efforts and will continue to push for doubling of Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program funding in the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.
ASA utilizes funds from USDA to support the U.S. Soybean Export Council, which develops and expands markets for U.S. soybean farmers, and ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, which work to find new and build emerging markets for soy.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased that U.S. wheat growers now have the opportunity to increase global food assistance and expand export market access under new USDA funding programs announced Oct. 24, 2023. USW and NAWG thank Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for releasing the new funds that will directly benefit U.S. wheat farmers and their overseas customers. Additionally, we thank Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Boozman (R-AR) for their August 28 letter to Secretary Vilsack formally requesting additional support for trade promotion and food assistance.
U.S. wheat farmers have been partners in U.S. food assistance programs for more than 60 years and take pride in sharing their harvest to address critical hunger needs around the world. Through the USDA’s Food for Progress and USAID Food for Peace programs, the American people have donated more than one million metric tons of wheat annually for the past three years.
“Additional funding for food assistance programs will help address the most urgent humanitarian needs in a generation. USW and NAWG look forward to working with USDA and other partners to ensure additional food donations generate the most benefit where it is needed most,” said NAWG President Brent Cheyne. “As NAWG works with Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill, we continue to advocate for strengthening the in-kind commodity donation program and additional investments in the existing trade promotion programs.”
Export Market Development
Organizations like USW that participate in USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export market development programs were very encouraged when the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program was established in 2019 as part of a program to ease the effects of trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. Those funds originated from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and FAS awarded grants to almost 60 cooperating organizations to be invested by 2024.
“USW demonstrated that the additional funding helped us protect crucial wheat export sales in established markets and build a base for growth in new markets,” said USW Chairman and Oklahoma wheat farmer Michael Peters. “We appreciate the introduction of the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP), and the USW team will work very hard to use it effectively. Looking ahead, global wheat trade is increasingly competitive and market development takes time and consistency. That’s why we believe that in the long-term, increases for established Farm Bill export development programs are the best way forward.”
All across its supply chain, U.S. wheat depends on the successful public-private partnership between USW’s state wheat commission members and USDA FAS export market development programs. Checkoff contributions qualify USW to apply for matching funds through programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.
Under U.S. farm legislation, Congress apportions funding for MAP, FMD and other export programs. Annual funding for MAP has not changed from $200 million since 2006 and annual FMD funding of $34.5 million has not changed since 2002, yet other countries have significantly ramped up their export promotion spending.
“Study after study has shown that these programs consistently meet their purpose to boost agricultural export volume and revenue while supporting the entire U.S. economy, and the benefits grow with additional funding,” Peters said.
For more information about the benefits of FAS export market development programs visit www.AgExportsCount.com.