USDA awards funds for 2017 market development programs

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

“USDA and the US 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 US economy.”

Under MAP, FAS will provide $173.5 million in fiscal year 2017 funding to 70 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. The organizations use the funds to help US 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 percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

Under FMD, FAS will allocate $26.6 million in fiscal year 2017 funds to 26 trade organizations that represent US agricultural producers. FMD focuses on generic promotion of US 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 percent cost share, conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for US agricultural commodities overseas.

A new study conducted by noted land grant university economists shows 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 US economic output by $39.3 billion, annual gross domestic product (GDP) 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.

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