USDA awards funds for fiscal year 2016 market development programs

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has awarded fiscal year 2016 funding to more than 60 US agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for US goods.

The Market Access Program (MAP) focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, and is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities. The Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for agricultural products.

“USDA continues to expand markets for American goods abroad, work aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assist businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world,” said Vilsack. “Together market access and market development activities can help agricultural organizations representing thousands of producers and businesses open and grow markets for American products around the world.”

Under the MAP, FAS will provide $172.8 million for fiscal year 2016 to 62 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. These organizations use the funds to help producers with activities to promote their products around the globe. Activities can include 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 the FMD, FAS will allocate $27.5 million for fiscal year 2016 to 23 trade organizations that represent agricultural producers. The program focuses on generic promotion of commodities, rather than consumer-oriented promotion of branded products. Preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. The organizations, which contribute an average 184 percent cost share, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for agricultural commodities overseas.

USDA’s international market development programs have had a significant and positive impact on agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2010 found that trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD provide $35 in economic benefits for every one dollar spent by government and industry on market development.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide – the third highest level ever. agricultural exports supported nearly 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the nearly 11.3 million jobs supported by exports all across the country.

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