February 01, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Representative Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) are introducing a bipartisan, bicameral bill to boost marketing efforts and overseas sales for American agricultural products, including seafood. Their Expanding Agricultural Exports Act is estimated to increase agricultural exports by $7.4 billion by doubling funding for the advertising programs of agricultural goods in foreign countries.
The two programs, Market Access (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD), have opened new markets for small businesses across the country like Maine’s Ready Seafood. These programs generate a net return of $24.50 for every dollar invested and support 225,800 full- and part-time jobs nationwide.
“Whether it’s Maine blueberries or Iowa pork, people around the world have fallen in love with the unbeatable taste and quality of America’s agricultural products,” said Senator King. “The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act will open new markets for these delicious American products, create opportunities for hard-working farming communities, and support thousands of jobs across the country. With a relatively modest boost in marketing, the bill will spur significant private investment and create billions in resulting sales. That’s the definition of a commonsense deal, and one that I’m glad is already receiving bipartisan support.”
“The continued success and growth of Iowa, and the American agricultural industry, is dependent on strong trade. The MAP and FMD Programs are critical to ensure Iowa farmers have strong commodity markets and export opportunities, adding value to farmers’ bottom line and our state’s economy,” said Senator Ernst.
“I fought for a spot on the Agriculture Committee because farming is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Senator Smith. “I want to make sure that Minnesota’s farmers have every opportunity to sell their products and stay competitive. This bipartisan bill would ratchet up our ag export policies to another level, allowing family farmers to establish, build, and maintain their economic partnerships in international markets.”
“Programs like the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program are essential for farmers and ranchers in Central Washington and across the country to help expand their customer base and market their products abroad,” said Rep. Newhouse. “This legislation will further advance the agriculture industry's capabilities to create more good-paying jobs while enabling customers around the world to enjoy Washington's high-quality, nutritious products.”
“These programs have a significant impact on small- and medium-sized businesses in our food, farm, and fishing industries. They represent strong and sustainable investments for the U.S. taxpayer,” said Brendan Wilson, Executive Director/CEO of Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast, two not-for-profits that promote the exports of Midwest and Northeast U.S. food and agricultural products. “An expansion of MAP and FMD resources will ensure these programs continue to meet the evolving needs of and provide a more competitive advantage for U.S. producers in a dynamic global marketplace.”
The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act would double authorized funding levels for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program to $400 million and $69 million, respectively. The funds are used to reimburse agricultural organizations for a portion of the cost of carrying out overseas marketing and promotional activities, such as consumer promotions. MAP participants include nonprofit agricultural trade organizations, state-regional trade groups, cooperatives, and private companies that qualify as small businesses. When MAP funds are used for generic marketing and promotion, the private sector must contribute a minimum 10-percent match. For the promotion of branded products, a dollar-for-dollar match is required.
The bill is also cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine and America’s agriculture industry. He’s worked to support Maine’s lobster fishery, wild blueberry industry, and potato farmers. King has also co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to combat the unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products using dairy names.