The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) announced that its Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) awarded $171.8 million in funding made available through the 2014 Farm Bill to 62 agricultural organizations in the hopes of growing commercial export markets for U.S. products.
“Now that Congress has passed the Farm Bill, USDA is moving quickly to implement our trade promotion programs to help open and expand opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses and build on the past five years of record agricultural exports,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These programs are an important investment in rural America. Every dollar we invest in trade promotion provides $35 in economic benefits.”
The funds were made available through FAS’s Market Access Program, which unites U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and small businesses to share the expenses associated with marketing and promotional initiatives overseas. Program participants commit to contribute an average 171% match for generic marketing and promotions and a dollar-for-dollar match for small businesses and cooperatives promoting branded products.
Another program, the Foreign Market Development Program, seeks to build, expand, and maintain long-term export markets, and through this initiative, FAS will provide $24.6 million to 22 trade organizations representing U.S. agricultural producers. These organizations typically contribute three times the amount they receive in funding toward efforts to help maintain or increase the demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.