As part of the "fiscal cliff" package enacted late in the evening of New Year's Day, the 2008 Farm Bill was granted a nine-month extension, including an extension for USDA's Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Programs. Both MAP and FMD were reauthorized at current levels through the end of the fiscal year.
USGC says despite the extension, prospects for a new Farm Bill in the 113th Congress are uncertain. USGC notes that export promotion initiatives, including MAP and FMD, enjoy broad bipartisan support.
Last fall, prior to the extension, USGC's President and CEO Tom Sleight told Farm Futures that the promotional efforts facilitated by FMD and MAP funding would be missed – and could result in decline in market share for U.S. grains.
Now, USGC says given the federal government's difficult fiscal situation, MAP and FMD are among a broad range of Farm Bill programs that are caught in the crossfire of nutrition and commodity program discussion. They say there is significant uncertainty on cooperators, including the U.S. Grains Council, that utilize MAP and FMD programs to build and defend global markets for U.S. agricultural products.
"While the U.S. Grains Council does not lobby, it has worked closely with allied farm organizations to spread the good word about the success of U.S. agricultural exports and their important contribution to American jobs and economic growth," the Council wrote in a news update. "MAP and FMD are part of a proven public-private partnership that has helped make the United States the world's top agricultural exporter. Both global markets and global competition are growing rapidly. The future is bright -- provided that we are prepared to compete to win the battle for export share."