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USDA Gives $200 Million To Help Promote Overseas Trade

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Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that his department awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program. The Hagstrom Report says the goal is to help U.S. farmers and ranchers find and get into new export markets around the globe. The promotion funds are part of the package that also included the Market Facilitation Program payments to farmers hurt be retaliatory tariffs, as well as a food distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities.

In making the announcement, Perdue made a thinly-veiled reference to China by saying, “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector that will help to increase our agricultural exports.” Every sector of U.S. agriculture was allowed to apply for cost-share assistance under the program. The Foreign Agricultural Service looked at all the applications in terms of the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project will have a direct impact on agricultural exports. The Trade Promotion Program provides assistance to eligible groups for things like consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, trade fair participation, and market research.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation was one of the 57 groups to receive trade promotion funding from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says they appreciate the Trump Administration’s recognition of the extremely competitive environment U.S. agricultural products face in the global marketplace. “The administration also appreciates how changes in trading partners’ tariff rates can put these products at a significant disadvantage,” Halstrom says. “This funding will help us defend existing market share and develop new destinations for U.S. agricultural products.”

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers are also pleased that the nation’s wheat growers now have an opportunity to increase efforts to expand export market access, thanks to the $200 million in funding given to the 57 organizations. “U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now with the impact of retaliatory tariffs putting a strain on the export market and threatening many decades worth of market development,” says USW Chair Chris Kolstad. The United States exports half the wheat crop it grows so programs like the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program are crucial. “The program helps our farmers to remain competitive in the global market,” says NAWG President Jimmie Musick. “We are pleased that our sister organization, U.S. Wheat Associates, was awarded significant funding for trade mitigation activities.”

Source: NAFB News Service