As Congressional leaders weigh the fate of the next Farm Bill, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng wants them to keep in mind the critical role exports play in the viability of U.S. agriculture and the health of the nation’s economy. One of the keys to expanding agricultural exports is to maintain stable funding for the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), which represents a successful partnership between USDA and nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities.

MAP has a proven track record of creating jobs and contributing to a positive agricultural balance of trade. For example:

  • Since MAP was created in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased more than 400 percent. 
  • According to an independent cost/benefit analysis, MAP funds return $35 for every $1 spent. (Source: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA’s International Market Development Programs, IHS Global Insight (USA), Inc., March 2010).
  • According to USDA, every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports about 8,400 jobs. With ag exports projected to reach $131 billion in this fiscal year, this translates to more than 1.1 million American jobs.
  • USMEF has consistently received the highest available rating for the effectiveness of its market development programs supported by MAP.

Seng also points out the importance of industry contributions in determining the allocation of MAP funds. He notes that with strong support from the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean industries, USMEF is particularly well-positioned to make effective use of MAP funding to expand global demand for U.S. red meat.