One area of the new Farm Bill that faces an uphill fight is funding for market development. Funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) has remained steady for several years, but Sen. Joe Donnelly and a group of Senators have proposed legislation that would double the budget for these USDA programs. The bill, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, would gradually increase MAP funding from $200 million to $400 million per year and FMD funding from $34.5 million to $69 million per year, over the next five years. “Hoosier farmers are among the best in the world and a pillar of Indiana’s economy,” said Donnelly. “That’s why I am proud to work with my colleagues and friends, Senators Angus King, Joni Ernst and Susan Collins, on bipartisan legislation that would help expand international market access for our farmers, increase opportunities for them to sell their products to customers across the globe, and strengthen our state’s agricultural economy.”
“MAP and FMD have been incredibly effective for soybean farmers both in Indiana and across the country, spurring trade activity that support 240,000 full-time jobs, and returns nearly $30 for every dollar invested,” said Joe Steinkamp, American Soybean Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance Director, who farms in Evansville. “Doubling funding for the important work they support will only further the mission of creating and expanding export markets for U.S. soybeans in a time when farmers need robust and reliable markets for the crops they produce. We appreciate Sen. Donnelly’s work on this issue alongside Sens. Ernst and King. That bipartisanship is a reflection on how both parties recognize the importance of expanding export markets for what we produce on the farm.”
American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President John Heisdorffer signaled the association’s strong support today for legislation. “These are programs that yield exponential benefits for farmers and for our economy, generating almost $30 in net return for every dollar invested,” he stated. “Those dollars have gone to expanding overseas demand in the fields of animal agriculture, cooking oils, and the emerging field of aquaculture, which will be key as our industry works to provide protein to a growing global population in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America.”
MAP allows agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit trade groups, and small businesses to apply for either generic or brand-specific promotion funds to support exporting efforts. Generic commodity funds are issues with a 10-percent minimum matching fund, while brand-specific funds require a dollar for dollar match.
FMD is largely used for the promotion of bulk commodities, helping agricultural trade associations establish permanent presences in important markets. It also includes a matching fund requirement