Nutritional Labeling? Maybe So

In an encouraging example of bipartisan action, groups of Democrat and Republican Senators and House Members, plus one Independent, have joined together to sponsor legislation expanding funding for agricultural exports, including wine.

On the House side, the lead sponsor is Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), a wine grape grower himself as well as being co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus, chair of the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, plus a great supporter of the American wine industry.

Titled “Expanding Agricultural Exports Act” (EAEA), the bill proposes doubling the funding for both the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Cooperative Program (FMD) administered by the US Department of Agriculture. Between 1977 and 2019, these programs have added an average of $9.6 billion annually to the value of US agricultural exports, equal to nearly $648 billion, or 13.7%, in additional export revenues.

Still, the amount of annual funding—$200 million for MAP, $34.5 million for FMD—has stayed static for about 20 years while public sector support of agricultural promotion has increased significantly in Europe, China, and other regions, putting US producers at a significant disadvantage. Setting the funding levels at $400 million and $69 million annually will help the US start to catch up.

The MAP program has been very valuable for the wine industries of California,Oregon, Washington, and New York, which have all developed successful export programs that otherwise would probably not exist. Wine industries in other states may participate in their regional agricultural associations which cover other products as well.

WineAmerica strongly supports this initiative, and we thank all the cosponsors.