Representative Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) recently introduced an amendment to eliminate funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) in the budgetary FY2011 Continuing Resolution currently under deliberation on the floor of the House of Representatives.

This legislation comes on the heels of recommendations for MAP funding elimination by the Simpson/Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission and the Republican Study Committee comprised of 175 House Republicans.

As Congress continues its fiscal policy debate, the threat to both MAP and Foreign Market Development (FMD) and the future of the U.S. Grains Council has never been more real.

The Council utilizes MAP and FMD to strategically leverage USGC membership resources for international market development efforts.

MAP funds made possible the Council’s sorghum export initiative in Morocco, for example, which took U.S. sales from zero in the 2009 marketing year to more than 123,000 metric tons (4.8 million bushels) in 2010. So far this marketing year through November, Morocco has imported nearly 48,000 tons (1.9 million bushels) valued at more than $11 million. Florentino Lopez, marketing director for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, believes Morocco can be “a great long-term buyer of the product.”

MAP funding also made possible the Council’s sustained worldwide promotion of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), an effort that increased exports to reach an estimated 8 million tons in 2010.

“When you see the dramatic increase in DDGS purchases in Chile, China, Egypt, Japan, Morocco and Thailand in 2010, you’re seeing the results of MAP and FMD spending,” said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy. “It’s the combination of MAP, FMD, and industry dollars that pays for the educational seminars and feeding trials to produce new markets.”

“For every dollar we’ve jointly invested in market development programs, we’ve seen U.S. food and agriculture exports increase by $35,” Gaibler said.

According to a 2009 Informa Economics evaluation, the total return for USDA’s cooperator program investments in market development is $50.30 annually for every dollar invested, and the USGC’s development efforts alone are worth $915.7 million to U.S. feed grain farmers