“The MAP and FMD programs are two of the most impactful USDA export promotion programs for soybean producers across the country,” said ASA President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore. “The proposed increase to these market development programs through the CREAATE Act will provide an enormous return on investment for America’s agricultural community and the U.S. economy as a whole, and will ensure our continued ability to compete in the global marketplace.”
The $150 billion in U.S. agricultural exports that occurred in 2014 produced an additional $190 billion in economic activity for a total of $340 billion of economic output. This supported 1.1 million full time U.S. civilian jobs, including 800,000 in the non-farm sector required to assemble, process and distribute agricultural products for exports.
The CREAATE Act calls for phasing in additional annual funding for MAP to $400 million in FY 2023, and additional annual funding for FMD to $69 million in FY 2023. Doubling public funding for MAP and FMD, coupled with increasing private contributions from 10 to 50 percent, would result in average annual gains in GDP of $4.5 to $6.0 billion.
“Agricultural exports are one of the brightest lights in the U.S. economy, and these proposed increases to MAP and FMD will have a strong multiplier effect by creating jobs, expanding the farm and larger U.S. economy and increasing revenues to the Treasury,” Moore said.
In other ASA news: David Williams, a fifth-generation soybean farmer from Elsie, Mich., told Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and fellow committee members Saturday that conservation and biobased programs are essential to advancing farmer sustainability goals and establishing new markets and should be reauthorized and funded as the committee moves ahead in its work on the coming farm bill.
Testifying on behalf of the ASA and the Michigan Soybean Association on which he serves as president, Williams emphasized the importance of farm bill conservation programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), noting that both CSP and EQIP incentivize farmers to adopt better conservation practices within their operations.
“I signed my first CSP contract, and adopted a new practice of seeding cover crops using a combination of oilseed radishes, oats, and peas. Recently I seeded cereal rye, and I have seen first-hand that cover crops prevent soil erosion and improve water quality by reducing drainage rates,” Williams said. “… The cost-sharing provided under EQIP helped us build a chemical and fertilizer containment facility which assisted in our compliance with Michigan state water quality regulations. This is a good example of how leveraging private investment with farm bill dollars leads to improved water quality for everyone.”
Williams also testified to the importance of the biobased programs authorized by the farm bill’s energy title—including the Biobased Market Program, the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, and the Biodiesel Education Program—making special note of the 4.2 billion jobs supported by the biobased economy in 2016.
“Michigan is a leader in the world bioeconomy thanks to a long history of innovation by companies like Ford and Lear and their collaboration with U.S. soybean growers. Every Ford car made in North America now contains soy in its seat cushions,” said Williams. “… (W)e believe that (these programs’) relatively low cost and the benefits they provide warrant their continuation with an increased level of mandatory funding.”