(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)
May 23: As part of ongoing debate over the 2013 farm bill in the Senate, Senators Coburn (R-Okla.) and McCain (R-Ariz.) filed Amendment #1007. This amendment would reduce funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program by $40 million dollars annually and place additional restrictions on use of program funds. The National Corn Growers Association, along with a broad coalition of allies, strongly opposes this amendment.
Earlier this month, NCGA joined a broad group of more than 140 organizations in sending a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran in support of MAP. Stressing the importance of long-term export market development partnerships in the face of growing foreign competition, the letter urged that MAP, along with USDA’s Foreign Market Development Program, receive the same level of funding authorized in the previous farm bill.
Since 2006, MAP has been funded at the level of $200 million annually. Reducing funding for MAP would seriously undermine U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in this highly competitive international marketplace. By creating a partnership between non-profit U.S. agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit state-regional trade groups, small businesses and USDA, MAP provides a cost-effective program to help maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, and strengthen farm income.
A recent study by IHS Global Insight commissioned by USDA showed that for every dollar spent by government and industry above the 2002 baseline on market development between 2002 and 2009, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35, a 35 to 1 return on investment.
NCGA urges members and allies of agriculture to voice their opposition to this amendment by contacting their Senators through the U.S. Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.