As Congress gears up for farm bill reauthorization, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are announcing advocacy tools and resources to engage with their legislators on the Expanding Agricultural Exports Act (S. 176) and Agriculture Export Promotion Act (H.R. 648), which the wheat industry welcomed. Because half of the wheat grown in the U.S. is exported, wheat growers have a deep understanding of the importance of trade and market development.
Earlier this month, lawmakers introduced this bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would strengthen the effectiveness of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). MAP’s authorized funding has not changed since 2006 and FMD funding has remained the same since 2002, so inflation and sequestration have significantly eroded the ability to compete with other countries who are steadily investing more in their agricultural export promotion efforts.
If enacted, this legislation would double funding for these agricultural export market development programs administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act was originally introduced by Senators Angus King (ME), Tina Smith (MN), Joni Ernst (IA), Chuck Grassley (IA) and Susan Collins (ME). The Agriculture Export Promotion Act was originally introduced by Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA), Jim Costa (CA), Tracey Mann (KS), Kim Schrier (WA), Ashley Hinson (IA), Jimmy Panetta (CA), Brad Finstad (MN) and Chellie Pingree (ME).
The wheat industry applauds Congress’s efforts to invest in these crucial programs. To highlight the importance of enacting this legislation, NAWG launched a grassroots campaign to help wheat growers encourage their members of Congress to support these legislative efforts and have them included as part of the 2023 Farm Bill. Individuals can click here to participate in our grassroots advocacy campaign. Wheat growers are strongly encouraged to participate in the campaign to let their members of Congress know how vital supporting these marker bills are to advancing agricultural exports.
“We are grateful for the work being done in Congress to lay the foundation for a strong 2023 Farm Bill that invests in programs that promote U.S. wheat and other agricultural products,” said NAWG President and Washington wheat farmer, Nicole Berg. “However, even with these marker bills that invest in the MAP and FMD program, we still have a long way to go in educating Members of Congress on why these resources are needed. We need wheat growers to help spread the word and tell the story of why this programmatic investment is necessary and how it would help grow our national economy. The campaign makes it easy for growers to contact their legislators, which truly makes a difference in how these decisions are made and votes are cast. I hope all growers participate, so our voices are heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill.”
“Our organization wants to thank our friends at NAWG for focusing on the need to increase MAP and FMD funding in the next Farm Bill,” said Rhonda K. Larson, USW Chair and a wheat farmer from East Grand Forks, Minn. “Studies have shown that the return on investment from MAP and FMD is very strong – but our activities overseas and impact are limited today by the erosion of these resources over time.”
A recent econometric study conducted by agricultural economists at IHS Market and Texas A&M University predicted that doubling funding for these programs would generate an additional $44.4 billion in U.S. agricultural exports over the 2024 to 2029 time period. This would directly benefit farmers, livestock producers, dairy operators and small businesses as they work to maintain and expand their global presence. Read more at www.AgExportsCount.org.
The Agriculture Export Promotion Act must now be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee and House Agriculture Committee.
Wheat growers can participate in the campaign on the NAWG website. Fill out your information and click submit; a letter will automatically be sent to your two senators and representative.