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MAP Funding Faces Next Senate Vote

Published: Jun 18, 2012
The USDA Market Access Program (MAP), which has been instrumental in supporting U.S. red meat exports to international markets, will be discussed by the Senate later this week when it resumes consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240). An amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would reduce funding for MAP by 20 percent and prevent the use of those funds for specific, targeted activities is expected to be voted upon Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, whose members include USMEF, have reported to members of Congress that since the creation of MAP in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased more than 400 percent, and today more than 1.1 million Americans have jobs that depend on these exports.

According to USDA, each $1 billion in agricultural exports supports approximately 8,400 U.S. jobs. Agricultural exports in FY 12 are forecast to reach $134.5 billion, which will be second only to the all-time record level of $137.4 billion achieved in FY 11.

Opponents of MAP have stated that the “overall benefit to the economy is unclear,” although a study commissioned by USDA has shown that for every additional $1 expended by government and industry on international market development, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35, a 35 to 1 return on investment. At the same time, the study also found that U.S. domestic farm support payments were reduced by roughly $54 million annually due to higher prices from increased demand abroad, thus reducing the net cost of farm programs.

The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled markup on the FY 13 Agriculture Appropriations bill for tomorrow, June 19. USMEF members are encouraged to contact their elected representatives, especially members of the House Appropriations Committee, to relay their support of full funding for both MAP and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. Contacts for members of the U.S. Senate can be found here.

USMEF members are encouraged to ask their elected representatives to support full funding for MAP and oppose Sen. Coburn’s amendment, which represents an immediate and serious threat to the program.

A copy of a draft letter to help explain the benefits of MAP can be found here. In addition, responses developed by the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports to questions raised by Sen. Coburn can be found here.