ASTA Calls for Continued Support for Critical Ag Export Programs

  • On May 26, 2017

Alexandria, Va.—May 26, 2017—The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) is calling on Congress to oppose the administration’s proposal to eliminate key USDA programs supporting agricultural exports for U.S. farmers and ranchers. It is estimated that elimination of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) would result in the loss of $14.7 billion in U.S. agricultural exports per year.

“MAP and FMD are incredibly effective public-private partnership programs offering a huge return on investment,” said Andrew W. LaVigne. “These programs have a track-record of success in resolving technical trade barriers to the movement of seed and other agriculture commodities around the globe, and maintaining the leadership role of U.S. agriculture at the international level.”

FMD, also known as the Cooperator Program, helps create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under 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 that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. MAP reaches virtually every corner of the globe, helping to build markets for a wide variety U.S. farm and food products.

ASTA has used these funds for decades to represent the U.S. seed industry in international forums that determine an array of seed movement policies. New policies take years to establish, and having a consistent U.S. presence is critical to ensuring international policies are aligned with our interests.

Through MAP and FMD, the private sector contributes an estimated $468.7 million annually into international market development and promotion – representing more than 70-percent of the programs’ buying power. In fact, the U.S. seed industry regularly matches over 2,000-percent of ASTA’s MAP and FMD funding with in-kind contributions. The programs have been shown to generate a remarkable return on investment of approximately $28 in export gains for every additional $1 spent on foreign market development. Since the last funding increase for MAP and FMD, in the 2002 Farm Bill, the foreign agricultural market developed by these programs has more than tripled to in excess of $800 billion dollars a year.