The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture is reviewing export promotion programs and their effectiveness in expanding exports of U.S. agricultural products. During a hearing, American Soybean Association Chief Executive Officer Stephen Censky said these programs have been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping expand U.S. exports of soybeans and other agricultural commodities, including corn, wheat, rice, cotton, livestock and meat products, dairy, forest products, peanuts, seafood, and a host of horticultural products.
According to ASA, last year the United States exported a record $23 billion in soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal. This export growth could not have been achieved without the unique government-industry partnership that characterizes the Foreign Market Development "Cooperator" Program and the Market Access Program administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
ASA became a Cooperator under the FMD program in 1956, when it opened a foreign market development program in Tokyo, Japan. Today, Japan is a top market for U.S. soybean products. According to a recent comprehensive study conducted by Global Insight for FAS, MAP and FMD have boosted ag exports by $6.1 billion and provided a 35 to 1 return on investment. In addition the report shows that from 2002 to 2009 the export gains associated with the two programs increased U.S. farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and net farm income by $1.5 billion. Furthermore, farm support payments were reduced by about $54 million dollars annually due to higher prices resulting from increased demand.