More Export Aid: USDEC Receives USDA Funding, WI Gov. Signs Ag Export Bill

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced today that it has awarded fiscal year 2022 funding to more than 65 US agricultural organizations, including the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), to help expand commercial export markets for US agricultural products.

Under the Market Access Program (MAP), which focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, FAS will provide $175.6 million for fiscal year 2022 to 67 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives, including $4,824,905 to USDEC.

Other organizations receiving funds include, among others: Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, $8,391,177; Food Export USA NE, $6,763,370; National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, $1,225,915; Organic Trade Association, $906,379; Southern United States Trade Association, $4,700,902; and Western US Agricultural Trade Association, $4,993,577.

These organizations use the funds to support US producers with marketing and promotion activities around the world, including market research, technical assistance, and support for participation in trade fairs and exhibits.

Under the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, which focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for US agricultural products, FAS will allocate $26.8 million for fiscal 2022 to 21 trade organizations, including $627,181 to USDEC.

The FMD program focuses on generic promotion of US commodities, rather than consumer-oriented promotion of branded products. Preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope.

WI Ag Export Bill Signed Into Law
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers today signed into law Assembly Bill 314, relating to promoting the export of Wisconsin’s agricultural and agribusiness products, including dairy products.

Under the new law, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) Center for International Agribusiness Marketing will work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) on a plan to increase the value of Wisconsin’s ag exports by 25 percent by June 30, 2026.

Of the $5 million appropriated for the export program, $2.5 million is to be expended to increase the value of Wisconsin’s dairy product exports by at least 25 percent over the value as of Dec. 31.

Also under the law, no later than Dec. 31, 2021, the Center for International Agribusiness Marketing and the WEDC are required to jointly submit a plan for how they intend to achieve the required export objectives. That plan has to include a plan to grant at least 15 percent of the moneys to be expended to exporters no later than Dec. 31, 2022.

The legislation was supported by, among others, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA), and Dairy Business Association (DBA).

“This investment is a smart, necessary boost that will benefit not only our dairy industry, but the state’s entire economy,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA executive director.

“Chr. Hansen has seen firsthand the critical role exports play in the growth and stability of our business. This investment will help ensure a stronger dairy industry in the future, in Wisconsin and the United States,” said Mike Neu, senior director of business development — cheese insights for Chr. Hansen.

“Exporting is an essential component to growing our business in the future. If we’re to keep pace with the productivity of our farmers and stabilize our industry, we must find new buyers abroad,” said Kim Heiman, president of Nasonville Dairy. “This state support will help us build those connections.”

“The Wisconsin Initiative on Agricultural Exports will help to support growth in Wisconsin’s dairy processing industry, providing greater opportunity throughout the supply chain and in our rural communities,” commented Mat Bartkowiak, director of strategic partnerships for Nelson-Jameson, Inc.

“Thanks to this funding, cheese makers will have access to more tools and assistance to help them navigate the challenging logistics of exporting,” said Paul Scharfman, CEO of Specialty Cheese Company. “As they find success in new markets, we’ll see both short- and long-term benefits for dairy processors and farmers alike.”

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