• Legislation that would increase funding for two U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. Sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME), the “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act” (S. 1839) would increase funding for USDA’s Foreign Market Development Program (FMD)) from $34.5 million to $69 million annually and the Market Access Program (MAP) from $200 million to $400 million. A companion bill, H.R. 2321, was introduced in the House on May 03, 2017, by Congressmen Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
  • “Export promotion programs like MAP and FDMP have a proven track record of helping American farm products reach foreign markets, opening up new opportunities and adding billions of dollars to our nation’s agricultural industry. However, recent funding levels for these programs do not reflect their importance to American exports,” stated Senator King in a release about the legislation.
  • National and state associations representing growers were quick to announce support for the Senate bill, including the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Sorghum Producers, and the Iowa Corn Growers (ICGA). The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development pointed out in a release that the European Union spends more than $255 million per year just to promote wine exports, more than the U.S. currently spends for the promotion of all commodities through MAP and FMD. The group added, “If this trend continues, the disadvantage in the global marketplace for American producers will only worsen.”
  • H.R. 2321 was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture on May 3, 2017, and no further action has been taken.