Letter to Senate Panel Urges Full Funding for MAP/FMD

The NCC joined other members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports on a letter to Senate leadership of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee urging their strong support for maintaining vital funding for USDA’s important export programs, including the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, when the Subcommittees consider the FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Published: June 23, 2017
Updated: June 23, 2017

June 19, 2017

Honorable John Hoeven, Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development,  Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Honorable Jeff Merkley, Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Chairman Hoeven and Ranking Member Merkley:

As members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, we are writing to urge your strong support for maintaining vital funding for USDA’s important export programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, when the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies considers the FY 18 Agriculture Appropriations bill.  We strongly urge that MAP and FMD be funded at no less than $200 million and $34.5 million respectively for FY 18, as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  MAP has been funded annually at this level since 2006 and FMD at its level since 2002.  We greatly appreciate the strong support annually expressed by Congress in fully funding these vital export promotion and market development programs and urge that you strongly oppose any efforts that would either eliminate or reduce funding for them.

MAP, which is administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), forms a highly successful partnership between non-profit U.S. agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit state-regional trade groups, small businesses and USDA to share the costs of international marketing and promotional activities such as consumer promotions, market research, trade shows, and trade servicing.  The FMD program benefits U.S. producers, processors, and exporters by assisting their organizations in developing new foreign markets and increasing market share in existing markets.  Overseas promotions are targeted toward long term development.  MAP and FMD are distinct, separate programs that address different aspects of market development and promotion and are examples of some of the most successful public-private partnerships.

American agriculture and American workers continue to face increasingly strong international competition supported by government sponsored activities.  A major study completed in 2013 on behalf of several U.S. agri-food export market development organizations found that, together in 2011, twelve countries and the European Union (EU) central government alone spent an estimated $1.8 billion, including $700 million in public funds and $1.1 billion in private funds, on export promotion for agri-food products (An Analysis of Competitor Countries’ Market Development Programs, Agralytica Consulting, June 2013).  For comparison, in 2011, the total U.S. export promotion public expenditure was $256 million.  Compared to agricultural production value, the U.S. public spending on export market development is among the lowest relative to these twelve nations.

While real funding for MAP and FMD has been reduced by sequestration and administrative costs in recent years, the European Parliament has adopted a package to promote European agricultural products that has been approved by other EU institutions.  The new agricultural promotion policy, which is now in effect, will increase EU funding from previously around 60 million EUR to 200 million EUR by 2019.  Many other competitor countries have announced ambitious trade goals and are shaping export programs to target promising growth markets and bring new companies into the export arena.

Exports are a vital part of the U.S. economic engine, and agricultural exports continue to be among its strongest components.  The export forecast for FY 17 is estimated to be approximately $137 billion.  While this is below the all time record level of $152.3 billion set in FY 14, it is important to note that average exports over the past five years have increased to nearly four times the level of the mid 1980's.  Since its creation in 1985, MAP has proven to be highly successful in helping to boost U.S. agricultural exports, protecting and creating American jobs, and increasing farm income.  Today, 1.1 million Americans have full time jobs that depend on these exports.  Thousands of small to medium size enterprises throughout the country, including family farms, depend on MAP and FMD for export markets.

A July 2016 econometric study1 of export demand by Informa Economics IEG, working with Texas A&M University and Oregon State University economists, showed that MAP and FMD generated a remarkable return on investment between 1977 and 2014 of $28.30 in export gains for every additional $1 spent on foreign market development, which is consistent with previous study results. In addition, the study showed the programs are responsible for 15 percent of total agricultural export revenue, equal to $309 billion, since 1977. MAP and FMD also returned an average annual increase in farm net income of $2.1 billion while creating 239,800 new full and part-time jobs between 2002 and 2014, according to study results.

MAP and FMD, it should be emphasized, are cost-share programs under which farmers and other participants are required to contribute as much as a 100 percent match of their own resources to be eligible.  They have been and continue to be excellent examples of very effective public-private partnerships.  While government is an important partner in this effort, industry funds are now estimated to represent about 70 percent of total annual spending on market development and promotion, up from roughly 45 percent in 1996 and less than 30 percent in 1991.  Clearly, U.S. producers and industry are committed to the programs.

By any measure, MAP and FMD have been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded international competitors.  MAP and FMD are two proven tools U.S. agriculture has to compete in the international marketplace, and are even more important today as our competitors continue to use their considerable financial resources to gain market share.

We appreciate this opportunity to express our views and look forward to working with you to achieve the goals of expanding U.S. agricultural exports, increasing farm income, and protecting and creating American jobs.


Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports (See below)

cc:        Members, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

1Economic Impact of USDA Export Market Development Programs, Informa Economics, IEG, July 2016


JUNE 19, 2017

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

Almond Alliance of California

American Cotton Shippers Association

American Cranberry Growers Association

American Feed Industry Association

American Hardwood Export Council

American Peanut Council

American Pistachio Growers

American Quarter Horse Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Sheep Industry Association

American Soybean Association

American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute

American Walnut Manufacturers Association

APA-The Engineered Wood Association

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Association

Blue Diamond Growers

Brewers Association

California Agricultural Export Council

California Apple Commission

California Association of Wheat Growers

California Avocado Commission

California Blueberry Commission

California Canning Peach Association

California Cherry Export Association

California Date Commission

California Dried Plum Board

California Farm Bureau Federation

California Fig Advisory Board

California Fresh Fruit Association

California Pear Growers

California Raisin Marketing Board

California Strawberry Commission

California Table Grape Commission

California Walnut Commission

Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association

Cherry Marketing Institute


Colorado Corn Growers Association

Colorado Sorghum Association

Corn Producers Association of Texas

Cranberry Institute

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Florida Citrus Mutual

Florida Citrus Packers Association

Florida Citrus Processors Association

Florida Department of Citrus

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

Florida Peanut Producers Association

Florida Tomato Exchange

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA

Food Export USA - Northeast

Georgia Poultry Federation

Ginseng Board of Wisconsin

Global Food & Nutrition, Inc.

Gulf Citrus Growers Association

Hardwood Federation

Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association

Hardwood Manufacturers Association

Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, Inc.

Hop Growers of America, Inc.

Idaho Barley Commission

Idaho Grain Producers Association

Idaho Wheat Commission

Illinois Corn Growers Association

Illinois Farm Bureau

Indian River Citrus League

Indiana Corn Growers Association

Iowa Corn Growers Association

Kansas Association of Wheat Growers

Kansas Corn Growers Association

Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association

Kansas Livestock Association

Kentucky Corn Growers Association

Kentucky Distillers’ Association

Kentucky Small Grain Growers

Leather Industries of America, Inc.

Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan Apple Association

Michigan Bean Shippers

Michigan Corn Growers Association

Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers

Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Missouri Corn Growers Association

Missouri Forest Producers Association

Mohair Council of America

National Association of Egg Farmers

National Association of State Departments of    Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Barley Growers Association

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Chicken Council

National Confectioners Association

National Corn Growers Association

National Cotton Council

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Farmers Union

National Grape Cooperative Association, Inc.

National Hardwood Lumber Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Pork Producers Council

National Potato Council

National Renderers Association

National Sorghum Producers

National Sunflower Association

National Turkey Federation

National Wood Flooring Association

Nebraska Corn Growers Association

Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board

Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association

Nebraska Wheat Board

Nebraska Wheat Growers Association

New Mexico Sorghum Association

New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association

New York Wine & Grape Foundation

North American Blueberry Council

North American Meat Institute

North Dakota Corn Growers Association

Northeast Loggers Association

Northwest Horticultural Council

Northwest Wine Coalition

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association

Oklahoma Sorghum Association

Oregon Wheat Growers League

Oregon Winegrowers Association

Organic Trade Association

Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association

Pet Food Institute

Softwood Export Council

South Dakota Corn Growers Association

Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association

Southern Forest Products Association

Southern Pine Council

Southern U.S. Trade Association

Sunkist Growers

Sun Maid Growers of California

Sunsweet Growers, Inc.

Texas Cattle Feeders Association

Texas Grain Sorghum Association

Texas Wheat Producers Association

The Popcorn Institute

United Egg Association

United Egg Producers

United Fresh Produce Association

USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council

USA Rice Federation

U.S. Apple Association

U.S. Apple Export Council

U.S. Cattlemen's Association

U.S. Dairy Export Council

U.S. Dry Bean Council

U.S. Hides, Skins & Leather Association

U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc.

U.S. Meat Export Federation

U.S. Pecan Growers Council

U.S. Rice Producers Association

U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc.

Valley Fig Growers

Virginia Grain Producers Association

Washington Apple Commission

Washington Association of Wheat Growers

Washington State Fruit Commission

Washington State Potato Commission

Washington Winegrowers Association

Washington Wine Institute

Welch Foods Inc., A Cooperative

Western Growers

Western Hardwood Association

Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association

West Texas Pecan Association

WineAmerica (The National Association of American Wineries)

Wine Institute

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association

Wood Component Manufacturers Association