One of agriculture’s priorities, as we help to craft and debate the next farm bill, is to increase the amount of funding for Market Access Programs and Foreign Market Development. These programs help build and expand international markets for food and ag products.
In fact, a bill called the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act (CREAATE) introduced in May 2017 sought to double the funding for the programs. Many congressmen supported this bill. Although the probability of doubling funding was always small, the bill served as an indicator that many elected officials understood the importance of these trade market development programs in the farm bill.
The new draft farm bill creates an entirely new program called the International Market Development Program. This is the new umbrella under which the historical Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Programs will exist. Under the new structure, funding for MAP and FMD are maintained.
These changes were necessary because the baseline budget for MAP expires this year under the 2014 farm bill. Combining the programs ensures that all programs have a permanent funding baseline.
The draft bill assigns $255 million to the new program.
According to the House Ag Committee Farm Bill website, “U.S. farmers and ranchers face an incredibly uncertain trade landscape, and MAP and FMD work are effective and critical tools to promote U.S. agricultural interests in our export markets. Further, they leverage significant financial contributions from participating organizations. These programs generate a net return of $28 in added export revenue for each invested program dollar and significantly increase demand for U.S. agricultural products within foreign markets. The Committee supports MAP and FMD as critical trade promotion efforts to keep U.S. farmers on pace with foreign competitors.”