USDA awards $200m for export market promotion

Public/private partnership helps open and grow markets for U.S. agricultural products.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is awarding $200 million to more than 70 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand export markets for U.S. farm and food products through the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program.

"USDA and the U.S. agricultural industry work together in a unique public/private partnership to open and grow markets around the world for high-quality, American-made farm and food products," Vilsack said. "The federal investment in these programs is multiplied by industry matching funds, not only boosting agricultural export revenue and volume but also supporting farm income and enhancing the overall U.S. economy."

Under MAP, FAS will provide $173.5 million in fiscal 2017 funding to 70 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. The organizations use the funds to help U.S. agricultural producers promote their products to consumers around the globe through activities such as market research, technical assistance and support for participation in trade fairs and exhibits. MAP participants contribute an average 137% match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

Under the FMD Program, FAS will allocate $26.6 million in fiscal 2017 funds to 26 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. FMD focuses on generic promotion of U.S. commodities rather than consumer-oriented promotion of branded products, and preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. The organizations, which contribute an average 130% cost share, conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.

A new study conducted by noted land-grant university economists found that MAP and FMD contributed $309 billion to farm export revenue between 1977 and 2014 — an average of $8.2 billion per year. From 2002 through 2014, the programs boosted average annual farm cash income by $2.1 billion, annual U.S. economic output by $39.3 billion, annual gross domestic product by $16.9 billion and annual labor income by $9.8 billion. In addition, the programs generated economic activity that directly created 239,000 new jobs, including 90,000 farm sector jobs.

To learn more about the "Economic Impact of USDA Export Market Development Program" study, visit www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2016-10/2016econimpactsstudy.pdf.

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