USDA invests $230m to expand export markets

Officials say funds will boost ag industry and national economy.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

January 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Export ship loaded with grain
Getty Images/Miragest

This week USDA officials announced the agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service will award more than $230 million in funding to nearly 70 agricultural organizations. The money will be used to support market expansion efforts. It will be distributed through the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.

Around $174 million will be distributed by the Market Access Program to 68 nonprofits and cooperatives. Those groups will use the funds for brand and customer promotion initiatives in fiscal year 2024. Cotton Council International will receive the largest allocation at nearly $14.8 million. The U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Food Export Association of the Midwest USDA will receive $12.8 and $10.1 million respectively.

On the other end of the scale, the National Industrial Hemp Council. Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council. California Olive Committee, American Feed Industry Association and Mohair Council of America will each receive allocations totaling between $134,000 and $202,000.

The Foreign Market Access Program will allocate $27 million to 20 agriculture producer trade associations.  Those groups will contribute $2.50 for every dollar in federal funding they receive. The money will be used to promote commodities and support programs intended to increase overseas demand for them.

USDA officials say these latest investments complement its new Regional Agriculture Promotion Program announced last year. The RAPP initiative will eventually fund $1.2 billion in programs to help exporters reach non-traditional markets and strengthen relationships in existing ones. USDA continues to accept applications for the first round of RAPP funding through Feb. 2.

According to FAS administrator Daniel B. Whitley, the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Programs have had a tremendous impact on expanding global market exports.

“For each $1 invested in export market development, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by more than $24,” Whitley says. “These programs provide a significant boost to the U.S. agricultural industry, which in turn helps strengthen the economy not just in rural communities, but across the entire United States.”

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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