Agricultural Export Coalition Strongly Opposes Amendment to Cut Market Access Program Funding and Limit Activity

In a letter dated June 13, 2012, 80 members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports strongly opposed an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012) to reduce annual funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $40 million and prohibit the use of MAP funds for certain activities.

“Reducing funding for MAP would seriously undermine U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in this highly competitive international marketplace,” the organizations said in the letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Minority Member Pat Roberts (R-KS). “It is a very efficient, cost-effective program.”

The letter also noted that under MAP, participants must carefully evaluate and adjust all export market development activities every year. The participants submit plans to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which reviews every promotional activity to determine their eligibility and ability to help increase demand for U.S. agricultural exports. This analysis, in conjunction with feedback from FAS overseas officers, determines whether activities merit funding.

MAP “has been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded foreign competitors,” the organizations said. “We strongly urge that MAP continue to be funded in S. 3240 at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current Farm Bill.”

The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports is an ad hoc coalition of organizations representing farmers and ranchers, fishermen and forest product producers, cooperatives, small businesses, regional trade organizations, and the State Departments of Agriculture (see attached list). The Coalition believes the U.S. must continue to have in place policies and programs that help maintain the ability of American agriculture to compete effectively in a global marketplace still characterized by subsidized foreign competition. Since its formation in the late 1980s, the Coalition’s goal has been to ensure that funding is maintained (and increased) for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

WineAmerica is a member of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports.