The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday awarded funding to more than 600 agricultural trade organizations to help promote exports of their products to overseas markets.
The funding was made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA will begin accepting applications for 2015 export development program funding Thursday.
"Now that Congress has passed the Farm Bill, USDA is moving quickly to implement our trade promotion programs to help open and expand opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses and build on the past five years of record agricultural exports," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. "Every dollar we invest in trade promotion provides $35 in economic benefits."
The funding is divided among two Foreign Agriculture Service-managed programs: Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development.
Through MAP, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities for exports agricultural products and commodities. The program, which focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities.
FAS will provide, through MAP, $171.8 million to 62 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. “Participants contribute an average 171-percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives,” USDA said.
The biggest recipients of MAP funds in 2014 are American Hardwood Export Council/APA - The Engineered Wood Association/Softwood Export Council/Southern Forest Products Association ($8,996,182); American Soybean Association ($4,523,434); Blue Diamond Growers/Almond Board of California ($4,729,064); Southern United States Trade Association ($5,874,329); U.S. Dairy Export Council ($4,084,503); U.S. Grains Council ($6,731,882); U.S. Meat Export Federation ($14,073,511); USA Poultry and Egg Export Council ($4,952,183); Washington Apple Commission ($4,930,752); Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association ($8,097,508); and Wine Institute ($6,322,046).
FMD focuses on trade servicing and capacity building by helping to form, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Through the program, FAS will allocate $24.6 million to 22 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. FAS partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations called cooperators.
“The organizations, which on average contribute nearly triple the amount they receive in federal resources, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase the demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas,” USDA said.
The largest recipients of FMD funds in 2014 are American Hardwood Export Council/APA - The Engineered Wood Association/Softwood Export Council/Southern Forest Products Association ($2,655,416); American Soybean Association ($5,198,548); Cotton Council International ($3,199,712); U.S. Grains Council ($2,439,510); U.S. Meat Export Federation ($1,081,750); U.S. Wheat Associates ($4,176,733); USA Poultry and Egg Export Council ($1,014,940); and USA Rice Federation ($1,267,187).
In addition to MAP and FMD programs, eligible organizations can apply for funding through the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, Quality Samples Program and Emerging Markets Program (EMP). The TASC program funds projects that address sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. The 2014 Farm Bill amended the program to allow participants to address technical barriers to trade regardless of whether they are related to a sanitary or phytosanitary barrier. QSP helps agricultural trade organizations provide product samples to potential importers. EMP provides funding for technical assistance activities to promote exports to emerging markets. The programs were authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.