Donnelly, King, Ernst, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Promote American Agricultural Exports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced they introduced bipartisan legislation that would increase funding to U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs and help U.S. farmers maintain an edge in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. The bill, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, aims to revitalize the USDA’s export promotion programs. The CREAATE Act would double funding over five years for two of the USDA’s export promotion programs, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD).

“Hoosier farmers are among the best in the world and a pillar of Indiana’s economy,” said Senator Donnelly. “That’s why I am proud to work with my colleagues and friends, Senators Angus King, Joni Ernst and Susan Collins, on bipartisan legislation that would help expand international market access for our farmers, increase opportunities for them to sell their products to customers across the globe, and strengthen our state’s agricultural economy.”

“MAP and FMD have been incredibly effective for soybean farmers both in Indiana and across the country, spurring trade activity that support 240,000 full-time jobs and returns nearly $30 for every dollar invested,” said Joe Steinkamp, American Soybean Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance Director, who farms in Evansville. “Doubling funding for the important work they support will only further the mission of creating and expanding export markets for U.S. soybeans in a time when farmers need robust and reliable markets for the crops they produce. We appreciate Sen. Donnelly’s work on this issue alongside Sens. Ernst and King. That bipartisanship is a reflection on how both parties recognize the importance of expanding export markets for what we produce on the farm.”

“Export promotion programs like MAP and FDMP have a proven track record of helping American farm products reach foreign markets, opening up new opportunities and adding billions of dollars to our nation’s agricultural industry. However, recent funding levels for these programs do not reflect their importance to American exports.” said Senator King. “Passage of this bipartisan legislation would mean growth for our agricultural industry and more good jobs across the economy. Additionally, it would ensure Maine’s famous lobsters, blueberries and everything in between can be enjoyed around the globe.”

"As American farmers and ranchers are struggling with historically low commodity prices, maintaining and strengthening U.S. trade relationships around the world is critical to the survival and profitability of the agricultural community,” said Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “The Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program have proven to be effective in expanding foreign markets for American agricultural goods. With one in every five jobs in Iowa being dependent on trade, it’s important that we ensure these programs have the ability to continue supporting our agricultural economy in Iowa, as well as across the United States. I am glad to join my colleagues in supporting the bipartisan CREAATE Act.” 

“American farmers, ranchers, and fishermen in Maine and across our country rely on programs like MAP and FDMP extensively to help them expand their customer base and market their products abroad.  This bipartisan legislation would help strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry and help create jobs.” said Senator Collins.  “Maine-made food is renowned for its quality and taste, and this increased investment would enable more consumers to access our state’s homegrown products.”

MAP allows agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit trade groups, and small businesses to apply for either generic or brand-specific promotion funds to support exporting efforts. Generic commodity funds are issues with a 10-percent minimum matching fund, while brand-specific funds require a dollar for dollar match.

FMD is largely used for the promotion of bulk commodities, helping agricultural trade associations establish permanent presences in important markets. It also includes a matching fund requirement.