Deadline Approaching for USDA Export Promotion Funds

What happened: The deadline for submitting applications for export promotion funds under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) is Feb. 2. The USDA program, finalized in Nov. 2023, allocates $1.2 billion over five years to boost U.S. agricultural exports.

Up to $300 million is earmarked for the first year to support eligible projects facilitating entry into new markets or expand market share in existing markets.

In a related matter, U.S. Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Adrian Smith (R-NB) formed a new congressional caucus to promote agricultural trade, pressing the Biden administration to negotiate comprehensive trade agreements. So far, the administration has opted for economic frameworks that focus more on climate change, supply chains, taxes, and labor rights issues.

NPPC’s take: NPPC strongly supports USDA’s efforts to boost agricultural trade and urges congressional lawmakers to reauthorize and double the funding in the next farm bill for the trade-promoting Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program. For fiscal 2023 — and for each of the past 15 years — MAP received $200 million and FMD got $34.5 million. NPPC is advocating for the Biden administration to open new and expand existing markets for U.S. pork through comprehensive trade agreements.

Why it matters: The U.S. pork industry is dependent on exports, which in 2023 are expected to top $8 billion, account for more than 25% of total pork production, and add the equivalent of more than $60 to the price producers received for each hog marketed.