Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) awarded fiscal year 2013 funding to more than 70 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for their goods. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
Under the Market Access Program (MAP), FAS will provide $172.7 million to 70 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. MAP participants contribute an average 171-percent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives. Under the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), FAS will allocate $25.4 million to 26 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. The organizations, which contribute an average 183-percent cost share, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.
"Through MAP, FMD and other market development programs, USDA helps U.S. agricultural organizations, representing thousands of producers and businesses, open and expand international markets for U.S. agricultural exports," said Vilsack. "Ultimately, these efforts are helping achieve President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014."
USDA's international market development programs have had a significant and positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2010 found that for every $1 expended by government and industry on market development, U.S. food and agricultural exports increase by $35. The past four years represent the strongest period for U.S. agricultural exports in the history of the United States. Farm exports in fiscal year 2012 reached $135.8 billion and supported 1 million jobs here at home. Exports of U.S. farm goods in fiscal year 2013 are projected to total $139.5 billion, which would set a new record. Agricultural exports support more than one million jobs and drive economic opportunity in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration -- the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. For example, more than $10 million was cut from this year's allocations due to sequestration. USDA has also already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.