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COALITION TO PROMOTE U.S. AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS URGES FARM BILL PASSAGE
American Soybean Association (ASA) reports:

ASA and fellow members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports strongly urged leadership in the House of Representatives to take action this year on a new five-year Farm Bill in a letter dated Nov. 2.

"With the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill on Sept. 30, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service currently has no authority to run market promotion and development programs including the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) for FY 13," wrote the organizations.

The farm families and small to medium size businesses that foot the bill for 60 percent of export development depend on MAP and FMD to conduct export activities they cannot do by themselves. And with a forecast value in FY 12 of $136.5 billion, agricultural exports are a vital part of the U.S. economic engine. However, federal funds for these programs will end early in 2013 for many organizations that have already started cancelling or reducing activities.

By any measure, MAP and FMD have been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective. Coalition members cited a recent study that found U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35 for every additional $1 invested by government and industry on market development. The study also found that increased overseas demand over the same period helped reduce U.S. domestic farm support payments by about $54 million annually.

Soy is the most valuable U.S. agricultural export, totaling nearly $25 billion last year.

Without funding for these programs, Russia, China, the European Union, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and many other countries will quickly gain a competitive edge in growing overseas markets, coalition members said. In order to continue to be competitive internationally, American agriculture needs the long term certainty provided by a new five-year Farm Bill.

ASA provides the majority of funding for the implementation of an aggressive international marketing program for U.S. soybean producers that leverages soybean checkoff funds with ASA's FMD cooperator program and MAP funding.


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