The future economic well-being of American agriculture is closely tied to our competitiveness in the international marketplace. A key program to this success is the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) which assists producers, processors, and exporters in developing new foreign markets and increasing market share in existing markets. The FMD program focuses on exporting generic U.S. commodities and lays the groundwork for commercial sales by establishing long-term relationships. FMD is also a very successful public-private partnership in creating jobs.
We thank the House and Senate Agriculture Committees for recognizing the importance of this vital trade program by renewing the program and protecting its baseline for the future in both the House and Senate passed versions of the Farm Bill.
However, the FMD program lost its baseline funding on September 30 when the 2014 Farm Bill expired. Without a new Farm Bill in place, the market development infrastructure built with FMD and farmer funds is under serious threat, at a time when export promotion is needed most. Without funding, FMD cooperators will begin closing overseas offices, reducing staff, and cutting programing by the end of this year – effectively ceding overseas markets to competitors for this marketing year and the future.
An extension of the current Farm Bill does not address the baseline issue because of CBO enforcement of the 1985 Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act which ends the funding baseline for programs with budgets less than $50 million unless Congress takes action.
It is critical that the Congress passes a Farm Bill to ensure long-term funding for this vital program. However, if Congress has to pass an extension of the current Farm Bill it is critical that the extension provides a means to fund FMD.
We urge you to complete the Farm Bill as soon as possible to ensure the continuation of this vital trade program for U.S. agriculture. We look forward to working with you on this important effort.
Almond Alliance of California
American Cotton Shippers Association
American Hardwood Export Council
American Peanut Council
American Seed Trade Association
American Sheep Industry Association
American Soybean Association
APA-The Engineered Wood Association
Appalachian Hardwood Association
California Apple Commission
California Blueberry Commission
California Farm Bureau Federation
Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association
Florida Peanut Producers Association
Hardwood Manufacturers Association
Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association
Idaho Grain Producers Association
Illinois Corn Growers Association
Illinois Farm Bureau
Leather Industries of America, Inc.
Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers
National Association of Egg Farmers
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Barley Growers Association
National Chicken Council
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Grape Cooperative Association, Inc.
National Hardwood Lumber Association
National Milk Producers Federation
National Pork Producers Council
National Renderers Association
National Sorghum Producers
National Sunflower Association
National Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
North American Meat Institute
North Dakota Wheat Commission
Northeast Loggers Association
Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association
Olive Growers Council of California
Oregon Wheat Commission
Oregon Wheat Growers League
Oregon Wine Board
Oregon Winegrowers Association
Softwood Export Council
Southern Forest Products Association
Texas Cattle Feeders Association
Texas Wheat Producers Association
USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
USA Rice Federation
U.S. Apple Export Council
U.S. Dairy Export Council
U.S. Dry Bean Council
U.S. Hides, Skins & Leather Association
U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc.
U.S. Meat Export Federation
U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc.
Walnut Manufacturers Association
Washington Association of Wheat Growers
Washington Grain Commission
Washington Wine Institute
Welch Foods Inc., A Cooperative
Western Hardwood Association
Wood Component Manufacturers Association