Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds are at risk of being cut with increased pressures to reduce Federal budget deficits in the 112th Congress.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released fiscal year 2011 figures of MAP and FMD allowances for agriculture cooperators. MAP and FMD funds support U.S. producers’ and agribusiness efforts in the development, maintenance and expansion of U.S. coarse grains exports and are critical to sustaining strategic global market development programs for corn, sorghum, barley and their co-products.

While funding for these programs has historically received political support, significant challenges have been raised, calling into question the need for continued funding.

In 2010, U.S. agricultural exports totaled more than $113 billion, and USDA projects that figure will increase to a record $136 billion this year. The U.S. agriculture trade balance is projected to set a record surplus of nearly $48 billion. As significant opportunities exist for continued growth of U.S. agricultural exports into both new and existing markets, MAP- and FMD-supported efforts are critical to that growth.

In the context of an increasingly globalized international economy, reductions in trade promotion will significantly impact sales and market opportunities for all U.S. agriculture, which may negatively impact the overall U.S. economy. MAP and FMD represent an obvious and effective tool for the U.S. agricultural industry to remain actively engaged and competitive.

Over the next several weeks, the U.S. Grains Council will highlight the benefits of these programs through a series of success stories. Access these stories on the Council’s website by clicking here.