U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers joined more than 120 other members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports to urge the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to maintain funding for USDA export programs when it considers the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill on May 24.   

In a May 18 letter to Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who chairs the subcommittee, and Ranking Minority Member Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), coalition members asked that the Market Access Program (MAP) be funded at no less than $200 million for FY 12, as authorized in the 2008 farm bill. MAP has been funded annually at this level since FY 06.

The letter also called for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program to be funded at no less than $34.5 million, as provided in the farm bill.   

“Without the MAP and FMD programs, USW would not be able to continue our work overseas,” USW President Alan Tracy said. “Wheat farmers in the United States rely on the export market for nearly half of their crop each year, so wheat exports are critically important — not just to those producers and the prices they receive, but also to the communities that they serve and the prosperity of our rural towns across the country.” 

Because of regular assessments and state-funded special project investments by U.S. wheat producers, USW qualifies to receive cost-share funding from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service through both MAP and the FMD program.