Dear USMEF Executive Committee Members,
Attached are talking points, which you have seen in the past and likely are very familiar to you. For a short telephone conversation, here are the points we feel are most essential:
- Agriculture exports create jobs. Total agricultural exports – projected at $131 billion in FY 12 – support more than 1.1 million American jobs.
- Agriculture exports help the trade deficit. Agriculture is one of the few areas of the U.S. economy that produces a trade surplus: $29.7 billion in FY 10 and $42.7 billion in FY 11.
- The Farm Bill provides funding for operation of FAS. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, which in turn administers the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. A fully-funded FAS is essential to our international trade efforts.
- MAP and FMD work. A recent study by USDA shows that every dollar invested by U.S. taxpayers in these programs yields about $35 in benefits.
- MAP and FMD spending brings in money from international trading partners. In the case of USMEF, matching funds from our international trading partners to support promotions of U.S. beef, pork and lamb over the past 3 years have exceeded funds spent from all U.S. sources (MAP and FMD as well as contributions from the U.S. beef, pork, corn and soybean checkoffs and other sources) – averaging $40 million per year versus $32.7 million from U.S. sources.
In brief, taxpayer money invested in the MAP and FMD programs is money well spent. I ask you to contact your U.S. representative and convey your urgent support for a vote for full MAP and FMD funding through the farm bill.