Market Development Funding Critical for Wheat Producers
Posted: Mar 02 2023
The Farm Bill is vitally important to wheat producers, not just for the safety net and support it provides to help producers mitigate risk on weather, low prices and geopolitical events, but also for the provisions it provides for market development and trade. A very small part of the funding for the Farm Bill, a quarter of one percent, is for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development program (FMD). Both programs are used by USDA to partner with agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, small businesses and non-profit agricultural trade associations to help build commercial export markets for U.S. products and commodities, and explore long-term opportunities to expand export growth markets and address foreign import constraints.
Currently MAP is authorized at $200 million, and FMD at $34.5 million on an annual basis, of the approximate $90 billion annual cost of the Farm Bill. While an extremely small share of the total, the support it does provide is critical to maintaining U.S. producer competitiveness in the global market, and even more accentuated for wheat producers, since one-half of our production must find a home in the international market.
A bipartisan effort is being led in both the Senate and the House to double funding for both programs, since FMD has not increased since 2002, and MAP has not had a funding increase since 2006. This has dropped the effective funds available under MAP, due to sequestration and inflation, to just $177 million, and FMD to $27 million. The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act is the bill in the Senate, and the Agriculture Export Promotion Act is the legislation in the House. There is no question about the economic return that robust international trade brings back to producers, and the local, state and national economy. US Wheat Associates and the North Dakota Wheat Commission support both these bills, as do the National Association of Wheat Growers and the North Dakota Grain Growers who are leading the lobbying efforts for wheat producers with respect to the new Farm Bill.